Factorial Structure and Age-Related Psychometrics of the MIDUS Personality Adjective Items Across the Life Span

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Abstract

The present study addresses issues of measurement invariance and comparability of factor parameters of Big Five personality adjective items across age. Data from the Midlife in the United States (MIDUS) survey were used to investigate age-related developmental psychometrics of the MIDUS personality adjective items in 2 large cross-sectional samples (exploratory sample: N = 862; analysis sample: N = 3,000). After having established and replicated a comprehensive 5-factor structure of the measure, increasing levels of measurement invariance were tested across 10 age groups. Results indicate that the measure demonstrates strict measurement invariance in terms of number of factors and factor loadings. Also, we found that factor variances and covariances were equal across age groups. By contrast, a number of age-related factor mean differences emerged. The practical implications of these results are discussed, and future research is suggested.

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