The Big Five Inventory (BFI) is a 44 item self-report questionnaire, developed by John and researchers, that measures an individual on the five personality factors from the Big Five, or the five factor model (FFM), with each item being rated on a five point scale. The following factors that also make up the subscales of the BFI are: Extraversion, Agreeableness, Conscientiousness, Neuroticism, and Openness. The BFI is one of the most commonly used tool for assessing individual personality traits and can be used across a variety of settings, either for personal use or for clinical or research purposes. The BFI is also known to be a reliable and valid measure of the Big Five personality traits, while keeping the completion time to be efficient (takes about 5 - 15 minutes to administer). The BFI is typically administered in older populations, but younger populations can fill out this measure as well. In addition, the BFI is available in different languages.
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The lead section gives a quick summary of what the assessment is. Here are some pointers (please do not use bullet points when writing article):
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- What are its acronyms?
- What is its purpose?
- What population is it intended for? What do the items measure?
- How long does it take to administer?
- Who (individual or groups) was it created by?
- How many questions are inside? Is it multiple choice?
- What has been its impact on the clinical world in general?
- Who uses it? Clinicians? Researchers? What settings?
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Steps for evaluating reliability and validity
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- Evaluate the instrument by referring to the rubrics for evaluating reliability and validity (both external Wikiversity pages). For easy reference, open these pages in separate tabs.
- Reliability rubric
- Validity rubric
- Refer to the relevant instrument rubric table. This is the table that you will be editing. Do not confuse this with the external pages on reliability and validity.
- Instrument rubric table: Reliability
- Instrument rubric table: Validity
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Instrument rubric table: Reliability
Note: Not all of the different types of reliability apply to the way that questionnaires are typically used. Internal consistency (whether all of the items measure the same construct) is not usually reported in studies of questionnaires; nor is inter-rater reliability (which would measure how similar peoples' responses were if the interviews were repeated again, or different raters listened to the same interview). Therefore, make adjustments as needed.
|Click here for instrument reliability table
Not all of the different types of reliability apply to the way that questionnaires are typically used. Internal consistency (whether all of the items measure the same construct) is not usually reported in studies of questionnaires; nor is inter-rater reliability (which would measure how similar peoples' responses were if the interviews were repeated again, or different raters listened to the same interview). Therefore, make adjustments as needed.
Reliability refers to whether the scores are reproducible. Unless otherwise specified, the reliability scores and values come from studies done with a United States population sample. Here is the rubric for evaluating the reliability of scores on a measure for the purpose of evidence based assessment.
Evaluation for norms and reliability for the Big Five Inventory (table from Youngstrom et al., extending Hunsley & Mash, 2008; *indicates new construct or category)
||Rating (adequate, good, excellent, too good*)
||Explanation with references
||Research of the BFI includes mostly convenience samples and samples taken from surveys from other research projects. In addition, the sample sizes were quite large for most of the studies that were evaluating the psychometrics of the BFI. These samples mainly came from nonclinical populations.
|Internal consistency (Cronbach’s alpha, split half, etc.)
||Cronbach's alphas typically ranged from .75 to .90 for subscales and average above .80.
||The BFI is designed to be a self-report scale; therefore, inter-rater reliability does not apply here.
|Test-retest reliability (stability
||Reliability correlations ranged from .80 to .90 for a 3 month retest. Other studies found that 2 month retest reliability correlations were greater than .75., with data also show high stability in clinical trials
||No studies have been published that evaluates the repeatability of the BFI.
Instrument rubric table: Validity
|Click here for instrument validity table
Validity describes the evidence that an assessment tool measures what it was supposed to measure. There are many different ways of checking validity. For screening measures, diagnostic accuracy and w:discriminative validity are probably the most useful ways of looking at validity. Unless otherwise specified, the validity scores and values come from studies done with a United States population sample. Here is a rubric for describing validity of test scores in the context of evidence-based assessment.
Evaluation of validity and utility for the Big Five Inventory (table from Youngstrom et al., unpublished, extended from Hunsley & Mash, 2008; *indicates new construct or category)
||Rating (adequate, good, excellent, too good*)
||Explanation with references
||The BFI has been thoroughly developed by the primary researchers. Multiple studies have determined that the facets and domains in the BFI accurately represent the theoretical construct.
|Contruct validity (e.g., predictive, concurrent, convergent, and discriminant validity)
||The BFI shows convergent validity with other well-known personality measures of the Big Five. Studies have shown that the factor structure was highly stable across different phases of the life span after analyzing the convergence of the BFI factor solutions across different age groups. Construct reliabilities averaged .85 on BFI factors. Correlations between BFI scores, self-esteem, social desirability, and optimism were in the low to moderate range, indicating that the BFI is a well-defined, independent measure., criterion validity via metabolic markers and associations with family history of mood disorder.
||Studies have found that there were low discriminant correlations for the BFI, showing evidence for validity.
||The BFI is used mainly as a self-report. College students as well as other older populations can freely access and use the BFI for personal or research use. The BFI has multiple shortened, revised, and translated versions, all of which have good reliability and validity. as well as outpatient and inpatient clinical samples; translated into multiple languages with good reliability
||Studies have not been published to address treatment sensitivity of the BFI. 
||The BFI can be freely accessed online. Strong psychometrics and evidence supported research shows that it can be utilized.
Development and history
Previously, researchers have attempted to identify the major dimensions of personality. Researchers defined many facets and factors of personality; however, there were complications with their theoretical models. Tupes and Christal eventually have found five strong factors of personality. Initially, there were known as Extraversion or Surgency, Agreeableness, Conscientiousness, Emotional Stability versus Neuroticism, and Culture. These later became known as the Big Five. These five factors allow for a broader framework that contains and categorizes more specific personality traits.
One of the first attempts to include the Big Five in questionnaires was made by Costa and McCrae, as they were developing the NEO Personality Inventory that included factors of Neuroticism, Extraversion, and Openness, and later included Agreeableness and Conscientiousness factors (with the revised NEO Personality Inventory, NEO PI-R). However, these previous measures of the big five personality traits often take too long to complete. Researchers (John, Donahue, and Kentle) wanted to address the need for short instruments measuring components of the Big Five by developing a brief inventory that would allow efficient and flexible assessment of the five dimensions. The items in the BFI were developed through factor analytic verification in personality ratings. The items of BFI comprise of short phrases based on trait adjectives known to be markers of the Big Five, instead of including just one adjective. This structure was kept so as to avoid ambiguity and to still keep the measure brief. These short scales save testing time and also avoid boredom and fatigue of the test-takers.
The Big Five Inventory is composed of the following subscales:
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- Why was this instrument developed? Why was there a need to do so? What need did it meet?
- What was the theoretical background behind this assessment? (e.g. addresses importance of 'negative cognitions', such as intrusions, inaccurate, sustained thoughts)
- How was the scale developed? What was the theoretical background behind it?
- How are these questions reflected in applications to theories, such as w:cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT)?
- If there were previous versions, when were they published?
- Discuss the theoretical ideas behind the changes.
The major goal for the Big Five Inventory was to be a brief and reliable personality measure than other previous personality measures. It is not only easy to administer, but it also takes a very short amount of time to complete, as it takes about 5 - 15 minutes. In addition, it can be used in multiple settings, for personal use or for research purposes, and it is also available online.
Use in other populations
Revised version of the BFI
Researchers have recently developed a revised version of the BFI, known as the BFI-2. The BFI-2 has 60 items. The BFI-2 is aimed to be an improvement of the original BFI and has higher predictive power as well as better reliability and validity scores.
There are many different versions of the BFI. The BFI has been condensed to various short versions, most of which are reduced to five to ten items. These shorter measures have been shown to have adequate reliability and validity scores, while trying to aim for brevity.
The BFI has also been released and translated to different languages other than English: Chinese, Dutch, German, Hebrew, Italian, Lithuanian, Portuguese, Spanish, and Swedish. Research has supported that these translated versions also have good reliability and validity.
The BFI is a self report measure, which have some vulnerabilities in its experimental design. For instance, social desirability bias in participant can occur, as individuals can rate themselves on personality traits in a way that portrays them more positively. This type of bias can skew the accuracy of the results. In addition, since this is a subjective measure, it may be difficult for the individuals to precisely pinpoint a number that represents how likely it is that the description best suits them. Moreover, the answers that they give might not accurately represent who they are. Because the BFI was intended to be a short scale, this can lead to some drawbacks, as including lesser items could sacrifice reliability and validity scores.
Scoring instructions and syntax
We have syntax in three major languages: R, SPSS, and SAS. All variable names are the same across all three, and all match the CSV shell that we provide as well as the Qualtrics export.
Hand scoring and general instructions
The following questions on the BFI are reversed scored:
Extraversion: 6, 21, 31
Agreeableness: 2, 12, 27, 37
Conscientiousness: 8, 18, 23, 43
Neuroticism: 9, 24, 34
Openness: 35, 41
To reverse-scored these items, subtract the answer that was given from 6. 1 becomes a 5, 2 becomes 4, 3 is still 3, 4 becomes 2, and 5 becomes 1. To create scale scores, you will add the total responses for each subscale (R represents the reverse-scored item) and then average them.
Extraversion: 1, 6R, 11, 16, 21R, 26, 31R, 36
Agreeableness: 2R, 7, 12R, 17, 22, 27R, 32, 37R, 42
Conscientiousness: 3, 8R, 13, 18R, 23R, 29, 33, 38, 43R
Neuroticism: 4, 9R, 14, 19, 24R, 29, 34R, 39
Openness: 5, 10, 15, 20, 25, 30 35R, 40, 41R, 44
CSV shell for sharing
|Click here for CSV shell
- <Paste link to CSV shell here>
Here is a shell data file that you could use in your own research. The variable names in the shell corresponds with the scoring code in the code for all three statistical programs.
Note that our CSV includes several demographic variables, which follow current conventions in most developmental and clinical psychology journals. You may want to modify them, depending on where you are working. Also pay attention to the possibility of "deductive identification" -- if we ask personal information in enough detail, then it may be possible to figure out the identity of a participant based on a combination of variables.
When different research projects and groups use the same variable names and syntax, it makes it easier to share the data and work together on integrative data analyses or "mega" analyses (which are different and better than meta-analysis in that they are combining the raw data, versus working with summary descriptive statistics).
|Click here for R code
R code goes here
|Click here for SPSS code
bfi02 bfi06 bfi08 bfi09 bfi12 bfi18 bfi21 bfi23 bfi24 bfi27 bfi31 bfi35 bfi37 bfi41 bfi43
(1=5)(2=4)(3=3)(4=2)(5=1) INTO revbfi02 revbfi06 revbfi08 revbfi09 revbfi12 revbfi18 revbfi21 revbfi23 revbfi24 revbfi27 revbfi31 revbfi34 revbfi35 revbfi37 revbfi41 revbfi43.
- Calculating the average of each subscale
COMPUTE bfie = mean(bfi01, revbfi06, bfi11, bfi16, revbfi21, bfi26, revbfi31, bfi36).
VARIABLE LABELS bfie 'Extraversion Score'.
COMPUTE bfia = mean(revbfi02, bfi07, revbfi12, bfi17, bfi22, revbfi27, bfi32, revbfi37, bfi42).
VARIABLE LABELS bfia 'Agreeableness Score'.
COMPUTE bfic = mean(bfi03, revbfi08, revbfi18, revbfi23, bfi28, bfi33, bfi38, revbfi43).
VARIABLE LABELS bfic 'Conscientiousness Score'.
COMPUTE bfin = mean(bfi04, revbfi09, bfi14, bfi19, revbfi24, bfi29, revbfi34, bfi39).
VARIABLE LABELS bfin 'Neuroticism Score'.
COMPUTE bfio = mean(bfi05, bfi10, bfi15, bfi20, bfi30, revbfi35, bfi40 revbfi41, bfi44).
VARIABLE LABELS bfio 'Openness Score'.
|Click here for SAS code
SAS code goes here
|Click here for references
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 1.6 1.7 https://www.ocf.berkeley.edu/~johnlab/pdfs/2008chapter.pdf Cite error: Invalid
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- ↑ 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 Worrell, Frank C.; Cross, William E. (2004-01-01). "The Reliability and Validity of Big Five Inventory Scores With African American College Students" (in en). Journal of Multicultural Counseling and Development 32 (1): 18–32. doi:10.1002/j.2161-1912.2004.tb00358.x. ISSN 2161-1912. http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/j.2161-1912.2004.tb00358.x/abstract. Cite error: Invalid
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- ↑ 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 Robinson, Christopher. "The Big Five Inventory". www.ocf.berkeley.edu. Retrieved 2017-12-05. Cite error: Invalid
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- ↑ Achenbach, TM; McConaughy, SH; Howell, CT (March 1987). "Child/adolescent behavioral and emotional problems: implications of cross-informant correlations for situational specificity.". Psychological Bulletin 101 (2): 213–32. PMID 3562706.
- ↑ Klein, DN; Dickstein, S; Taylor, EB; Harding, K (February 1989). "Identifying chronic affective disorders in outpatients: validation of the General Behavior Inventory.". Journal of consulting and clinical psychology 57 (1): 106–11. PMID 2925959.
- ↑ Mesman, Esther; Nolen, Willem A.; Reichart, Catrien G.; Wals, Marjolein; Hillegers, Manon H.J. (May 2013). "The Dutch Bipolar Offspring Study: 12-Year Follow-Up". American Journal of Psychiatry 170 (5): 542–549. doi:10.1176/appi.ajp.2012.12030401.
- ↑ Reichart, CG; van der Ende, J; Wals, M; Hillegers, MH; Nolen, WA; Ormel, J; Verhulst, FC (December 2005). "The use of the GBI as predictor of bipolar disorder in a population of adolescent offspring of parents with a bipolar disorder.". Journal of affective disorders 89 (1-3): 147–55. PMID 16260043.
- ↑ Depue, RA; Kleiman, RM; Davis, P; Hutchinson, M; Krauss, SP (February 1985). "The behavioral high-risk paradigm and bipolar affective disorder, VIII: Serum free cortisol in nonpatient cyclothymic subjects selected by the General Behavior Inventory.". The American journal of psychiatry 142 (2): 175–81. PMID 3970242.
- ↑ Klein, DN; Depue, RA (August 1984). "Continued impairment in persons at risk for bipolar affective disorder: results of a 19-month follow-up study.". Journal of abnormal psychology 93 (3): 345–7. PMID 6470321.
- ↑ Findling, RL; Youngstrom, EA; Danielson, CK; DelPorto-Bedoya, D; Papish-David, R; Townsend, L; Calabrese, JR (February 2002). "Clinical decision-making using the General Behavior Inventory in juvenile bipolarity.". Bipolar disorders 4 (1): 34–42. PMID 12047493.
- ↑ Youngstrom, Eric A.; Genzlinger, Jacquelynne E.; Egerton, Gregory A.; Van Meter, Anna R. (2015). "Multivariate meta-analysis of the discriminative validity of caregiver, youth, and teacher rating scales for pediatric bipolar disorder: Mother knows best about mania.". Archives of Scientific Psychology 3 (1): 112–137. doi:10.1037/arc0000024.
- ↑ Alloy, LB; Abramson, LY; Hogan, ME; Whitehouse, WG; Rose, DT; Robinson, MS; Kim, RS; Lapkin, JB (August 2000). "The Temple-Wisconsin Cognitive Vulnerability to Depression Project: lifetime history of axis I psychopathology in individuals at high and low cognitive risk for depression.". Journal of abnormal psychology 109 (3): 403–18. PMID 11016110.
- ↑ Klein, Daniel N.; Dickstein, Susan; Taylor, Ellen B.; Harding, Kathryn (1989). "Identifying chronic affective disorders in outpatients: Validation of the General Behavior Inventory.". Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology 57 (1): 106–111. doi:10.1037/0022-006X.57.1.106.
- ↑ Youngstrom, EA; Findling, RL; Danielson, CK; Calabrese, JR (June 2001). "Discriminative validity of parent report of hypomanic and depressive symptoms on the General Behavior Inventory.". Psychological assessment 13 (2): 267–76. PMID 11433802.
- ↑ Findling, RL; Youngstrom, EA; McNamara, NK; Stansbrey, RJ; Wynbrandt, JL; Adegbite, C; Rowles, BM; Demeter, CA et al. (January 2012). "Double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled long-term maintenance study of aripiprazole in children with bipolar disorder.". The Journal of clinical psychiatry 73 (1): 57–63. PMID 22152402.
- ↑ 16.0 16.1 Youngstrom, E; Zhao, J; Mankoski, R; Forbes, RA; Marcus, RM; Carson, W; McQuade, R; Findling, RL (March 2013). "Clinical significance of treatment effects with aripiprazole versus placebo in a study of manic or mixed episodes associated with pediatric bipolar I disorder.". Journal of child and adolescent psychopharmacology 23 (2): 72–9. PMID 23480324.
- ↑ Ong, ML; Youngstrom, EA; Chua, JJ; Halverson, TF; Horwitz, SM; Storfer-Isser, A; Frazier, TW; Fristad, MA et al. (1 July 2016). "Comparing the CASI-4R and the PGBI-10 M for Differentiating Bipolar Spectrum Disorders from Other Outpatient Diagnoses in Youth.". Journal of abnormal child psychology. PMID 27364346.
- ↑ "“The next Big Five Inventory (BFI-2): Developing and assessing a hierarchical model with 15 facets to enhance bandwidth, fidelity, and predictive power”: Correction to Soto and John (2016)." (in en). Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 113 (1): 143–143. doi:10.1037/pspp0000155. http://doi.apa.org/getdoi.cfm?doi=10.1037/pspp0000155.
- ↑ Rammstedt, Beatrice; John, Oliver P.. "Measuring personality in one minute or less: A 10-item short version of the Big Five Inventory in English and German" (in en). Journal of Research in Personality 41 (1): 203–212. doi:10.1016/j.jrp.2006.02.001. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jrp.2006.02.001.
- ↑ Gosling, Samuel D; Rentfrow, Peter J; Swann, William B. "A very brief measure of the Big-Five personality domains" (in en). Journal of Research in Personality 37 (6): 504–528. doi:10.1016/s0092-6566(03)00046-1. https://doi.org/10.1016/S0092-6566(03)00046-1.
- ↑ Hahn, Elisabeth; Gottschling, Juliana; Spinath, Frank M.. "Short measurements of personality – Validity and reliability of the GSOEP Big Five Inventory (BFI-S)" (in en). Journal of Research in Personality 46 (3): 355–359. doi:10.1016/j.jrp.2012.03.008. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jrp.2012.03.008.
- ↑ Carciofo, Richard; Yang, Jiaoyan; Song, Nan; Du, Feng; Zhang, Kan (2016-02-26). "Psychometric Evaluation of Chinese-Language 44-Item and 10-Item Big Five Personality Inventories, Including Correlations with Chronotype, Mindfulness and Mind Wandering". PLOS ONE 11 (2): e0149963. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0149963. ISSN 1932-6203. http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0149963.
- ↑ Denissen, Jaap J. A.; Geenen, Rinie; Aken, Marcel A. G. van; Gosling, Samuel D.; Potter, Jeff (2008-02-25). "Development and Validation of a Dutch Translation of the Big Five Inventory (BFI)". Journal of Personality Assessment 90 (2): 152–157. doi:10.1080/00223890701845229. ISSN 0022-3891. PMID 18444109. http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/00223890701845229.
- ↑ Fossati, Andrea; Borroni, Serena; Marchione, Donatella; Maffei, Cesare (2011-01-01). "The Big Five Inventory (BFI)". European Journal of Psychological Assessment 27 (1): 50–58. doi:10.1027/1015-5759/a000043. ISSN 1015-5759. http://econtent.hogrefe.com/doi/abs/10.1027/1015-5759/a000043.
- ↑ Lovik, Anikó; Nassiri, Vahid; Verbeke, Geert; Molenberghs, Geert; Sodermans, An Katrien. "Psychometric properties and comparison of different techniques for factor analysis on the Big Five Inventory from a Flemish sample" (in en). Personality and Individual Differences 117: 122–129. doi:10.1016/j.paid.2017.05.048. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.paid.2017.05.048.
OToPS usage history
(when was measure added to OTOPS Survey?
(when was measure dropped from OTOPS survey?)
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