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A psychometric analysis of the negative scale of the attributional style questionnaire with an eye towards investigating gender differences : subtitle a comparison of methods King, Carmel Laura


The present study analyzed the negative scale of the Attributional Style Questionnaire (ASQ), a popular measure of attributional style and correlate of depression (Peterson et al., 1982), using non-parametric item response modeling. This modeling technique was used to determine if items function differentially for males and females, through differential item functioning (DIF) analysis. Past studies of the ASQ have not used non-parametric item response theory (IRT) modeling in their analysis, nor have they determined whether or not items function differentially for males and females. On a methodological note, nonparametric IRT results were therefore compared with results obtained using classical test theory (CTT) statistics. Results indicated that the negative items of each of the three subscales of the ASQ, locus, stability, and globality were found to function well and discriminate best at the extremes. Further, no gender DIF was detected using either nonparametric IRT or CTT methods. Furthermore, conditional reliability was found to be more informative and powerful than a single reliability coefficient. Findings add to the existing literature supporting the theoretical model of the ASQ by utilizing previously unexplored statistical methodologies.

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