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J Pers Assess. 1995 Feb;64(1):21-50.

Domains and facets: hierarchical personality assessment using the revised NEO personality inventory.

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Gerontology Research Center, National Institute on Aging, NIH, Baltimore, MD 21224, USA.


Personality traits are organized hierarchically, with narrow, specific traits combining to define broad, global factors. The Revised NEO Personality Inventory (NEO-PI-R; Costa & McCrae, 1992c) assesses personality at both levels, with six specific facet scales in each of five broad domains. This article describes conceptual issues in specifying facets of a domain and reports evidence on the validity of NEO-PI-R facet scales. Facet analysis-the interpretation of a scale in terms of the specific facets with which it correlates-is illustrated using alternative measures of the five-factor model and occupational scales. Finally, the hierarchical interpretation of personality profiles is discussed. Interpretation on the domain level yields a rapid understanding of the individual interpretation of specific facet scales gives a more detailed assessment.


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