Personality in General and Clinical Samples: Measurement Invariance of the Multidimensional Personality Questionnaire

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Abstract

A growing body of research suggests that the same general dimensions can describe normal and pathological personality, but most of the supporting evidence is exploratory. We aim to determine in a confirmatory framework the extent to which responses on the Multidimensional Personality Questionnaire (MPQ) are identical across general and clinical samples. We tested the Dutch brief form of the MPQ (MPQ-BF-NL) for measurement invariance across a general population subsample (N = 365) and a clinical sample (N = 365), using Multiple Group Confirmatory Factor Analysis (MGCFA) and Multiple Group Exploratory Structural Equation Modeling (MGESEM). As an omnibus personality test, the MPQ-BF-NL revealed strict invariance, indicating absence of bias. Unidimensional per scale tests for measurement invariance revealed that 10% of items appeared to contain bias across samples. Item bias only affected the scale interpretation of Achievement, with individuals from the clinical sample more readily admitting to put high demands on themselves than individuals from the general sample, regardless of trait level. This formal test of equivalence provides strong evidence for the common structure of normal and pathological personality and lends further support to the clinical utility of the MPQ.

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