Doctoral Dissertations

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy



Major Professor

John W. Lounsbury

Committee Members

Eric Sundstrom, Debora Baldwin, Schuyler Huck


Recent examinations of the Big Five in childhood and adolescence have indicated that these personality dimensions can be identified by early adolescence. Research in this domain has relied largely on adult ratings of personality, particularly by parents and teachers. These investigations have been hindered by the lack of an adequate self-report measure. The present research developed and validated a self-report instrument to measure the Big Five in adolescents. Ninety-one items measuring the Big Five were generated and administered to 204 middle school students in 6th though 8th grades. Based on reliability analyses, the items were revised and the resulting 85-item version of the Adolescent Big Five Inventory (ABFI), including a social desirability scale, was administered to 72 7th grade students. The ABFI scales demonstrated strong internal consistency with Cronbach alpha reliabilities ranging from alpha =.72 to alpha =.85. Extraversion, Openness, and Agreeableness on the ABFI were significantly correlated with teacher ratings on the same dimensions (r=.31 to r=.68). However, adolescents' scores on Conscientiousness or Neuroticism were not significantly correlated with teacher ratings. Using 107 college students, convergence of indicators was found for corresponding constructs on the ABFI and NEC Five-Factor Inventory (r=.60 to r=.83). Results were discussed in terms of gender differences, social desirability, rater bias, limitations, and need for future research.

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