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J Pers Soc Psychol. 2006 Dec;91(6):1138-51.

Higher-order factors of the Big Five in a multi-informant sample.

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Department of Psychology, Yale University, New Haven, CT 06520, USA.


In a large community sample (N=490), the Big Five were not orthogonal when modeled as latent variables representing the shared variance of reports from 4 different informants. Additionally, the standard higher-order factor structure was present in latent space: Neuroticism (reversed), Agreeableness, and Conscientiousness formed one factor, labeled Stability, and Extraversion and Openness/Intellect formed a second factor, labeled Plasticity. Comparison of two instruments, the Big Five Inventory and the Mini-Markers, supported the hypotheses that single-adjective rating instruments are likely to yield lower interrater agreement than phrase rating instruments and that lower interrater agreement is associated with weaker correlations among the Big Five and a less coherent higher-order factor structure. In conclusion, an interpretation of the higher-order factors is discussed, including possible neurobiological substrates.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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