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The long and winding road: A comprehensive analysis of 50 years of Eysenck instruments for the assessment of personality


Ruch, Willibald; Heintz, Sonja; Gander, Fabian; Hofmann, Jennifer; Platt, Tracey; Proyer, René T (2021). The long and winding road: A comprehensive analysis of 50 years of Eysenck instruments for the assessment of personality. Personality and Individual Differences, 169:110070.

Abstract

Instruments for the assessment of the Eysenckian superfactors of personality, Psychoticism (P), Extraversion (E), and Neuroticism (N), were developed over the course of almost 50 years. Typically the convergence with the precursor was examined when a new scale was published. In the present study the continuity and change of the substance of P, E, and N is tested by administering all instruments to a sample simultaneously, together with measures of the Five-Factor Model. A factor analysis of the 19 markers of the PEN model clearly yielded three factors, with higher loadings for E and N compared to P. The superfactors typically were measured purely after the historically second (or third, for P) instrument. Analysing the item difficulty confirmed that the P items were softened during the revisions but this created a confounding of item difficulty and content: The earlier “tough” items (mostly low Agreeableness) were gradually complemented by “softer” items representing the presumed obverse of P, superego strength (mostly low Conscientiousness). Finally, a part of the observed heterogeneity of P was due to these differences in item difficulty. Overall, the EPQ-R seems to be the most valid single measure of the PEN model.

Abstract

Instruments for the assessment of the Eysenckian superfactors of personality, Psychoticism (P), Extraversion (E), and Neuroticism (N), were developed over the course of almost 50 years. Typically the convergence with the precursor was examined when a new scale was published. In the present study the continuity and change of the substance of P, E, and N is tested by administering all instruments to a sample simultaneously, together with measures of the Five-Factor Model. A factor analysis of the 19 markers of the PEN model clearly yielded three factors, with higher loadings for E and N compared to P. The superfactors typically were measured purely after the historically second (or third, for P) instrument. Analysing the item difficulty confirmed that the P items were softened during the revisions but this created a confounding of item difficulty and content: The earlier “tough” items (mostly low Agreeableness) were gradually complemented by “softer” items representing the presumed obverse of P, superego strength (mostly low Conscientiousness). Finally, a part of the observed heterogeneity of P was due to these differences in item difficulty. Overall, the EPQ-R seems to be the most valid single measure of the PEN model.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:06 Faculty of Arts > Institute of Psychology
Dewey Decimal Classification:150 Psychology
Scopus Subject Areas:Social Sciences & Humanities > General Psychology
Uncontrolled Keywords:General Psychology
Language:English
Date:1 February 2021
Deposited On:27 Aug 2020 12:12
Last Modified:15 Dec 2020 02:04
Publisher:Elsevier
ISSN:0191-8869
OA Status:Hybrid
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.paid.2020.110070
Project Information:
  • : FunderDeutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft
  • : Grant IDHE 3143/1-1
  • : Project Title

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