Longitudinal invariance of Self-Esteem and method effects associated with negatively worded items

Robert W. Motl, Christine DiStefano

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


When developing self-report instruments, researchers often have included both positively and negativelyworded items to negate the possibility of response bias. Unfortunately, this strategy may interfere with examinations of the latent structure of self-report instruments by introducing method effects, particularly among negatively worded items. The substantive nature of the method effects remains unclear and requires examination. Building on recommendations from previous researchers (Tomás & Oliver, 1999), this study examined the longitudinal invariance of method effects associated with negatively worded items using a self-report measure of global self-esteem. Data were obtained from the National Educational Longitudinal Study (NELS; Ingels et al., 1992) across 3waves, each separated by 2 years, and the longitudinal invariance of the method effects was tested using LISREL 8.20 with weighted least squares estimation on polychoric correlations and an asymptotic variance/covariance matrix. Our results indicated that method effects associated with negativelyworded items exhibited longitudinal invariance of the factor structure, factor loadings, item uniquenesses, factor variances, and factor covariances. Therefore, method effects associated with negatively worded items demonstrated invariance across time, similar to measures of personality traits, and should be considered of potential substantive importance. One possible substantive interpretation is a response style.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)562-578
Number of pages17
JournalStructural Equation Modeling
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2002

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Decision Sciences(all)
  • Modeling and Simulation
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Economics, Econometrics and Finance(all)


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