A new measure of the big five personality factors: Test-retest reliability, concurrent validity, and comparability of alternate forms

Date of Completion

January 1996


Psychology, Personality|Psychology, Psychometrics




University of Connecticut undergraduates (621 females, 526 males, and 12 unspecified) were administered the Personality Factors Rating Scale (PFRS), a new multiscale measure of the Big Five Personality Factors. The PFRS, which consists of items selected from the Gough-Heilbrun Adjective Checklist (ACL), has been altered from the original ACL in two ways. First, the PFRS consists exclusively of those ACL items found in previous studies to have high and distinctive loadings on one of the Big Five. The revised format of the PFRS also utilizes a Likert-type response scale, in contrast to a simple checkmark endorsement of personally applicable items, as required by the standard ACL. In a follow-up portion of this study, a subset of the original participants (109 females, 99 males) completed the NEO-PI-R, a highly regarded and well-validated measure of the Big Five. In addition to the NEO-PI-R and on the same testing occasion, about half of the follow-up participants completed a second administration of the PFRS, while the other half completed the standard ACL.^ The PFRS demonstrated strong test-retest reliability correlations with an average four-week lapse between test administrations. In addition, excellent concurrent validity coefficients were observed for 4 of the 5 PFRS scales, namely, Extraversion, Agreeableness, Conscientiousness, and Neuroticism, against the corresponding scales of the NEO-PI-R. The PFRS Openness Scale did not substantially correlate with the NEQ-PI-R Openness Scale. Evidence is provided to suggest that the PFRS Openness Scale is, nevertheless, a valid measure that taps a narrower content domain than does the NEO-PI-R Openness Scale. Finally, alternate forms of these new, ACL-derived five-factor personality scales (namely, the PFRS versus the ACL) were pitted against each other by using the five-factor scales of the NEO-PI-R as a standard for comparison. The Extraversion, Agreeableness, and Conscientiousness Scales of the PFRS obtained stronger concurrent validity coefficients than did the corresponding ACL scales, while the Neuroticism and Openness Scales of the alternate forms remained comparable. The advantages of the five-factor scales of the PFRS vis-a-vis those of the ACL are discussed, as are the implications of this study for a major assumption of the Five-Factor Model of Personality Structure. ^