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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Improving the factor structure of psychological scales : the Expanded format as the alternative to the Likert scale format Zhang, Xijuan


Many psychological scales written in the Likert format include reverse worded (RW) items in order to control acquiescence bias. However, studies have shown that RW items often contaminate the factor structure of the scale by creating one or more method factors. The present study examines an alternative scale format, called the Expanded format, which replaces each response option in the Likert scale with a full sentence. We hypothesized that this format would result in a cleaner factor structure as compared to the Likert format. We tested this hypothesis on three popular psychological scales: the Rosenberg Self-Esteem scale, the Conscientiousness subscale of the Big Five Inventory, and the Beck Depression Inventory II. Scales in both formats showed comparable reliabilities and convergent validities. However, scales in the Expanded format had better (i.e., lower and more theoretically defensible) dimensionalities than scales in the Likert format, as assessed by both exploratory factor analyses and confirmatory factor analyses. We encourage further study and wider use of the Expanded format, particularly when the dimensionality of a scale is of theoretical interest.

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