Brief Report: Does the Number of Response Options Matter for the BFI-2? Conceptual Replication and Extension

Andrew Rakhshani, M. Brent Donnellan, Brent W. Roberts, Richard E. Lucas

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

We evaluated how the number of response options affects the psychometric properties of the Big Five Inventory-2 (BFI-2). Using two large samples collected from a market research company (Ns = 893 and 1,213), we tested how different response options of the BFI-2 influenced scale score distributions, internal consistency estimates, convergent validity correlations, and criterion validity correlations. Results suggest that score distributions were impacted by the number of response options such that ceiling and floor effects were more common when using two or three response options than when using more options. Estimates of Cronbach’s alpha were generally lower with fewer scale points as compared with more scale points, but these effects disappeared when ordinal alpha was used. There were no systematic effects of response options on convergent validity and criterion validity correlations. Given these results, there seems to be few psychometric reasons for deciding whether to administer personality items with five, six, or seven scale points.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalAssessment
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - 2023

Keywords

  • Big Five Inventory-2
  • Likert-type scales
  • personality
  • reliability analysis
  • response options
  • scale development

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Psychology
  • Applied Psychology

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