Middle category endorsement in odd-numbered Likert response scales: Associated item characteristics, cognitive demands, and preferred meanings

John T. Kulas, Alicia A. Stachowski

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

46 Scopus citations

Abstract

Although typically scored as indicating moderate or neutral trait standing, personality assessment respondents endorse the Likert-scale middle response category for a variety of reasons. Through the application of a cognitive processing model and an item characteristic orientation, middle category endorsements were found to exhibit a relatively high response latency, an "it depends" connotation, and a strong, negative relationship with item clarity. These general associations stress the importance of retaining unambiguous items for trait identification but also offer a tool to the personality assessment researcher - investigating the number of elicited middle category endorsements to identify trait indicators in possible need of contextualization.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)489-493
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Research in Personality
Volume43
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 Jun 2009

Keywords

  • Assessment
  • Construction
  • Editing
  • Response scale
  • Revision

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