Common measures of personality and temperament
This section gives brief details on some of the most widely used measures of personality and temperament listed in the Catalogue. The approaches we have used to define personality and temperament, along with some of the most widely studied personality and temperament dimensions, are given on the Personality and temperament page.
This section gives further details on specific measures, including the number of items, some example items, and how the questions are rated.
For each measure, we include reference(s) to books or papers describing the development of the instrument; these typically also include some data on reliability and validity. For many of the more widely used measures, further psychometric data (including the suitability of the measure for use in different population sub-groups) are also available in subsequent publications. Researchers are advised to consult such additional sources if they are planning studies of samples that differ markedly from the original validation samples. Researchers are advised to consult such additional sources if they are planning studies of samples that differ markedly from the original validation samples.
COMMON MEASURES OF PERSONALITY
COMMON MEASURES OF TEMPERAMENT
Big Five Inventory (BFI)
The Big Five Inventory (BFI) is a 44-item self-report scale designed to assess the domains of the Five Factor Model of personality: Openness to Experience, Conscientiousness, Extraversion, Agreeableness, and Neuroticism. Items consist of short phrases (e.g., ‘is helpful and unselfish with others’, ‘does things efficiently’), and participants rate each item on a 5-point scale ranging from 1 (disagree strongly) to 5 (agree strongly); scale scores reflect the participant’s mean item response to the items on each scale. The BFI shows good psychometric properties, and significant associations have been reported between scores for the Big Five traits on the BFI and analogous factors on other established personality inventories.
John, O. P., Donahue, E., & Kentle, R. L. (1991). The Big Five Inventory: Versions 4a and 54. Berkley, CA: University of California, Institute of Personality Assessment and Research.
Children’s Behavior Questionnaire (CBQ)
The Children’s Behavior Questionnaire was developed to provide a differentiated caregiver report assessment of temperament in children of 3 to 8 years of age. The standard form, developed by Mary Rothbart and colleagues, includes 195 items assessing domains including positive and negative emotion, motivation, activity level, and attention, based on the constructs of temperament in infancy assessed by the IBQ. Subsequently short (CBQ-SF, 94 items, 15 scales) and very short (CBQ-VSF, 36 items, three broad scales) versions have been developed. Parents/caretakers rate the extent to which the scale descriptors are true of their child on 7-point scales ranging from “Extremely untrue” to “Extremely true”. Factor analyses of the CBQ in US samples have typically identified three main factors: surgency/ extraversion, negative affectivity, and effortful control.
Putnam, S.P. & Rothbart, M.K. (2006). Development of short and very short forms of the Children’s Behaviour Questionnaire. Journal of Personality Assessment, 87, 102-112.
Early Childhood Behavior Questionnaire (ECBQ)
The Early Childhood Behavior Questionnaire (ECBQ) was designed to provide a comprehensive and detailed assessment of temperament in toddlers aged 1-3 years old. It includes 201 items and 18 scales, described as predominantly ‘downward extensions’ of the dimensions of the Children’s Behavior Questionnaire, and ‘upward extensions’ of the dimensions of the Infant Behavior Questionnaire-Revised. Parents report on the frequency of specific behaviours (e.g., how often did your child ‘sit quietly and watch,’ ‘become sadly tearful’) in frequently occurring contexts (e.g., ‘When told no’) on a 7-point scale ranging from “Never” to “Always”.
Putnam, S. P., Gartstein, M. A., & Rothbart, M. K. (2006). Measurement of fine-grained aspects of toddler temperament: The early childhood behavior questionnaire. Infant Behavior and Development, 29, 386-401.
EAS Temperament Survey (EAS)
The EAS Temperament Survey is a 20-item parent-, teacher- or self-report questionnaire designed to assess 4 main dimensions of temperament: Emotionality: the tendency to become aroused easily and intensely; Activity: preferred levels of activity and speed of action; Sociability: the tendency to prefer the presence of others to being alone; and Shyness: the tendency to be inhibited and awkward in new social situations. Five items (e.g., ‘s/he is always on the go;’ ‘s/he tends to be shy’) index each dimension of temperament. Items are rated on 5-point scales ranging from 1 (not characteristic of your child) to 5 (very characteristic or typical of your child), and scores are summed for items reflecting each temperament dimension. The EAS was originally recommended for children aged 1-9 years but has also been used in older childhood and adolescent samples. Longitudinal studies report high stability on the four temperament dimensions across ages, along with some changes in mean scores by age.
Buss, A. H., & Plomin, R. (1984). Temperament: Early developing personality traits. Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum.
Eysenck Personality Questionnaire (EPQ)
Hans Eysenck conceptualized personality in terms of three main dimensions: extroversion/introversion, neuroticism/stability, and psychoticism/socialisation. The original Eysenck Personality Questionnaire (EPQ) included items assessing each of these dimensions, along with a further series of items forming a lie/social desirability scale. Items consist of short phrases and are rated using binary yes/no responses. A revised version (EPQ-R) was later published; although the full version includes 100 items, a short 48-item version, with 12 items for each scale, has been widely used.
Eysenck, H. J., & Eysenck, S. B. G. (1975). Manual of the Eysenck Personality Scale. London: Hodder and Stoughton
Infant Behavior Questionnaire-Revised (IBQ-R)
The Infant Behaviour Questionnaire is a measure of temperament for infants between 3 and 12 months of age. The original version, developed by the leading temperament scholar Mary Rothbart, included 191 items, and assessed 14 facets of temperament. This was subsequently refined and revised into the IBQ-R, a 91-item measure. The most recent development is of a Very Short Form including 37 items, designed to index three broad components: negative emotionality, positive affectivity/surgency, and orienting/regulatory capacity, argued to be similar to three of the Big Five personality traits in adulthood (neuroticism, extraversion, and conscientiousness). Parents/caretakers rate how frequently their infants displayed specific temperament-related behaviours in the past week, using 5- or 7-point scales ranging from “Never” to “Always”. The IBQ-R shows good internal reliability and has been widely translated.
Putnam, S. P., Helbig, A. L., Gartstein, M. A., Rothbart, M. K., & Leerkes, E. (2014). Development and assessment of short and very short forms of the Infant Behavior Questionnaire–Revised. Journal of Personality Assessment, 96, 445–458.
International Personality Item Pool (IPIP)
The International Personality Item Pool (IPIP) was developed to provide a large public domain pool of personality items for use in research. Numerous scales, reflecting different models of personality, can be constructed from IPIP items. One widely-used subset of 50 items assesses the Big Five personality traits (extraversion, agreeableness, conscientiousness, emotional stability, and openness to experience). Items consist of short phrases (e.g., ‘get stressed out easily’, ‘pay attention to details’), and respondents score them on 5-point scales ranging from “Very like me” to “Not at all like me”.
Goldberg, L. R., Johnson, J. A., Eber, H. W., Hogan, R., Ashton, M. C., Cloninger, C. R., & Gough, H. G. (2006). The international personality item pool and the future of public domain personality measures. Journal of Research in Personality, 40, 84–96.
Midlife Development Inventory (MIDI)
The Midlife Development Inventory (MIDI) uses 26 adjectives to assess the Big Five Personality traits: Openness to Experience (e.g., ’imaginative’), Conscientiousness (e.g., ‘organized’), Extraversion (e.g., ‘outgoing’), Agreeableness (e.g., ‘helpful’), and Neuroticism (e.g., ’moody’). Participants rate how well each adjective describes them on 4-point Likert-type scales ranging from 1 (a lot) to 4 (not at all).
Lachman, M.E. & Weaver, S.L. (1997). The midlife development inventory (MIDI) personality scales: scale construction and scoring (unpublished technical report). Waltham: Brandeis University.