The Factor Structure of the Values in Action Inventory of Strengths (VIA-IS): An Item-Level Exploratory Structural Equation Modeling (ESEM) Bifactor Analysis

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The factor structure of the Values in Action Inventory of Strengths (VIA-IS; Peterson & Seligman, 2004) has not been well established as a result of methodological challenges primarily attributable to a global positivity factor, item cross-loading across character strengths, and questions concerning the unidimensionality of the scales assessing character strengths. We sought to overcome these methodological challenges by applying exploratory structural equation modeling (ESEM) at the item level using a bifactor analytic approach to a large sample of 447,573 participants who completed the VIA-IS with all 240 character strengths items and a reduced set of 107 unidimensional character strength items. It was found that a 6-factor bifactor structure generally held for the reduced set of unidimensional character strength items; these dimensions were justice, temperance, courage, wisdom, transcendence, humanity, and an overarching general factor that is best described as dispositional positivity.

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