Question Wording Effects in the Assessment of Global Self-Esteem


Dunbar M, Ford G, Hunt K & Der G (2000) Question Wording Effects in the Assessment of Global Self-Esteem. European Journal of Psychological Assessment, 16 (1), pp. 13-19.

Marsh (1996) produced evidence that method effects associated with negatively worded items might be responsible for the results of earlier factor analytic studies that reported finding positive and negative self-esteem factors in the Rosenberg Global self-esteem scale (Rosenberg, 1965). He analyzed data collected from children using a 7-item self-esteem measure. This report details attempts to replicate Marsh's analysis in data collected from two samples of adults who completed the full 10-item Global Self-Esteem (GSE) scale. The results reported here are similar to those given by Marsh in so much as a correlated uniquenesses model produced a superior fit to the data than the simple one factor model (without correlated uniquenesses) or the often reported two factor (positive and negative self-esteem) model. However, whilst Marsh reported that the best fit was produced by allowing negative item uniquenesses to correlate with each other, the model that produced the best fit to these data was one that contained correlated positive item uniquenesses. Supporting his claim that differential responding to negative and positive self-esteem items reflects a method effect associated with reading ability. Marsh also showed that factors associated with negative and positive items were most distinct among children who had poor reading scores. We report a similar effect among a sample of older adults where the correlation between these factors was compared across two groups who were selected according to their scores on a test of verbal reasoning.

European Journal of Psychological Assessment: Volume 16, Issue 1

Publication date31/12/2000