Modeling General, Specific, and Method Variance in Personality Measures: Results for ZKA-PQ and NEO-PI-R
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Contemporary models of personality assume a hierarchical structure in which broader traits contain narrower traits. Individual differences in response styles also constitute a source of score variance. In this study, the bifactor model is applied to separate these sources of variance for personality subscores. The procedure is illustrated using data for two personality inventories—NEO Personality Inventory–Revised and Zuckerman–Kuhlman–Aluja Personality Questionnaire. The inclusion of the acquiescence method factor generally improved the fit to acceptable levels for the Zuckerman–Kuhlman–Aluja Personality Questionnaire, but not for the NEO Personality Inventory–Revised. This effect was higher in subscales where the number of direct and reverse items is not balanced. Loadings on the specific factors were usually smaller than the loadings on the general factor. In some cases, part of the variance was due to domains being different from the main one. This information is of particular interest to researchers as they can identify which subscale scores have more potential to increase predictive validity.