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J Res Pers. 2011 Nov;45(5):468-478.

Evaluating the Evidence for the General Factor of Personality across Multiple Inventories.

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  • 1Michigan State University.


A general factor of personality (GFP) has been proposed as the apex of a personality trait hierarchy that explains covariance among the lower-order factors measured by various personality inventories. In this study we evaluated the GFP hypothesis across several personality inventories, unlike most previous research in which the GFP has been derived from individual instruments in isolation. Exploratory analyses did not produce substantial evidence for the existence of a single cross-instrument higher-order factor of factors and efforts to specify a range of GFP-inspired models in a confirmatory framework led to significant estimation difficulties and poor fit to the data. Overall these results fail to support a common GFP that is positioned at the top of a personality trait hierarchy.

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