Simple measures and complex structures: Is it worth employing a more complex model of personality in Big Five inventories?
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The poor performance of five-factor personality inventories in confirmatory factor analyses (CFAs) prompted some to question their construct validity. Others doubted the CFA’s suitability and suggested applying Exploratory Structural Equation Modeling (ESEM). The question arises as to what impact the application of either method has on the construct validity of personality inventories. We addressed this question by applying ESEM and CFA to construct better-fitting, though more complex models based on data from two questionnaires (NEO PI-R and 16PF). Generally, scores derived from either method did not differ substantially. When applying ESEM, convergent validity declined but discriminant validity improved. When applying CFA, convergent and discriminant validity decreased. We conclude that using current personality questionnaires that utilize a simple structure is appropriate.