Item Wording and Response Scales in Personality Inventories

Acquiescence, or “yea-saying,” is a challenge in personality assessment through questionnaires. This study aimed to investigate if simplifying item wording and response scales reduces acquiescent responding. The study compared the original items to simplified versions and the original 5-point response scale to a 4-point scale without a midpoint. Results showed that item simplification reduced the variance attributable to acquiescence, while the response scale format did not have an effect. These findings were more pronounced among lower-educated respondents.

Image courtesy of interviewee. December 11, 2023

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