Higher-order factors of the Big Five in a multi-informant sample

J Pers Soc Psychol. 2006 Dec;91(6):1138-51. doi: 10.1037/0022-3514.91.6.1138.


In a large community sample (N=490), the Big Five were not orthogonal when modeled as latent variables representing the shared variance of reports from 4 different informants. Additionally, the standard higher-order factor structure was present in latent space: Neuroticism (reversed), Agreeableness, and Conscientiousness formed one factor, labeled Stability, and Extraversion and Openness/Intellect formed a second factor, labeled Plasticity. Comparison of two instruments, the Big Five Inventory and the Mini-Markers, supported the hypotheses that single-adjective rating instruments are likely to yield lower interrater agreement than phrase rating instruments and that lower interrater agreement is associated with weaker correlations among the Big Five and a less coherent higher-order factor structure. In conclusion, an interpretation of the higher-order factors is discussed, including possible neurobiological substrates.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Character*
  • Factor Analysis, Statistical
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Models, Statistical
  • Observer Variation
  • Peer Group
  • Personality Assessment / statistics & numerical data*
  • Personality Inventory / statistics & numerical data*
  • Psychometrics / statistics & numerical data*
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Statistics as Topic
  • Surveys and Questionnaires