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Age-neutrality of the NEO-PI-R: potential differential item functioning in older versus younger adults

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Abstract
Geriatric researchers and clinicians often have to deal with a lack of valid personality measures for older age groups (e.g., Mroczek, Hurt, & Berman, 1999; Zweig 2008), which hampers a reliable assessment of personality in later life. An age-neutral measurement system is one of the basic conditions for an accurate personality assessment across the lifespan, both longitudinally and cross-sectionally. In the present study, we empirically investigate the age-neutrality of one of the most widely used personality measures (i.e., the NEO PI-R (Costa & McCrae, 1992)), by examining potential Differential Item Functioning (DIF). Overall, results indicate that the vast majority (92.9 % at domain-level and 95 % at facet-level) of the NEO PI-R items was similarly endorsed by younger and older age groups with the same position on the personality trait of interest, corroborating the NEO PI-R’s age neutrality. However, Differential Test Functioning (DTF) analyses revealed large DTF for Extraversion, and facet A6 (Tender-Mindedness). Results are discussed in terms of their implications for using the current format of the NEO PI-R in older aged samples.
Keywords
5-FACTOR MODEL, Older Adults, PERSONALITY-DISORDERS, DIF, PERSPECTIVE, ESTIMATOR, INVENTORY, TESTS, BIAS, LIFE, NEO PI-R, Differential Item Functioning, Assessment, Personality

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Chicago
Van den Broeck, Joke, Gina Rossi, Eva Dierckx, and Barbara De Clercq. 2012. “Age-neutrality of the NEO-PI-R: Potential Differential Item Functioning in Older Versus Younger Adults.” Journal of Psychopathology and Behavioral Assessment 34 (3): 361–369.
APA
Van den Broeck, Joke, Rossi, G., Dierckx, E., & De Clercq, B. (2012). Age-neutrality of the NEO-PI-R: potential differential item functioning in older versus younger adults. JOURNAL OF PSYCHOPATHOLOGY AND BEHAVIORAL ASSESSMENT, 34(3), 361–369.
Vancouver
1.
Van den Broeck J, Rossi G, Dierckx E, De Clercq B. Age-neutrality of the NEO-PI-R: potential differential item functioning in older versus younger adults. JOURNAL OF PSYCHOPATHOLOGY AND BEHAVIORAL ASSESSMENT. 2012;34(3):361–9.
MLA
Van den Broeck, Joke, Gina Rossi, Eva Dierckx, et al. “Age-neutrality of the NEO-PI-R: Potential Differential Item Functioning in Older Versus Younger Adults.” JOURNAL OF PSYCHOPATHOLOGY AND BEHAVIORAL ASSESSMENT 34.3 (2012): 361–369. Print.
@article{4415728,
  abstract     = {Geriatric researchers and clinicians often have to deal with a lack of valid personality measures for older age groups (e.g., Mroczek, Hurt, \& Berman, 1999; Zweig 2008), which hampers a reliable assessment of personality in later life. An age-neutral measurement system is one of the basic conditions for an accurate personality assessment across the lifespan, both longitudinally and cross-sectionally. In the present study, we empirically investigate the age-neutrality of one of the most widely used personality measures (i.e., the NEO PI-R (Costa \& McCrae, 1992)), by examining potential Differential Item Functioning (DIF). Overall, results indicate that the vast majority (92.9 \% at domain-level and 95 \% at facet-level) of the NEO PI-R items was similarly endorsed by younger and older age groups with the same position on the personality trait of interest, corroborating the NEO PI-R{\textquoteright}s age neutrality. However, Differential Test Functioning (DTF) analyses revealed large DTF for Extraversion, and facet A6 (Tender-Mindedness). Results are discussed in terms of their implications for using the current format of the NEO PI-R in older aged samples.},
  author       = {Van den Broeck, Joke and Rossi, Gina and Dierckx, Eva and De Clercq, Barbara},
  issn         = {0882-2689},
  journal      = {JOURNAL OF PSYCHOPATHOLOGY AND BEHAVIORAL ASSESSMENT},
  keyword      = {5-FACTOR MODEL,Older Adults,PERSONALITY-DISORDERS,DIF,PERSPECTIVE,ESTIMATOR,INVENTORY,TESTS,BIAS,LIFE,NEO PI-R,Differential Item Functioning,Assessment,Personality},
  language     = {eng},
  number       = {3},
  pages        = {361--369},
  title        = {Age-neutrality of the NEO-PI-R: potential differential item functioning in older versus younger adults},
  url          = {http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10862-012-9287-4},
  volume       = {34},
  year         = {2012},
}

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