Do individual response styles matter? Assessing differential item functioning for men and women in the NEO-PI-R

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


  • Eunike Wetzel
  • Jan Boehnke
  • Claus H Carstensen
  • Matthias Ziegler


Publication details

JournalJournal of Individual Differences
DatePublished - 1 Jan 2013
Issue number2
Number of pages13
Pages (from-to)69-81
Original languageEnglish


The occurrence of differential item functioning (DIF) for gender indicates that an instrument may not be functioning equivalently for men and women. Aside from DIF effects, item responses in personality questionnaires can also be influenced by response styles. This study analyzes the German NEO-PI-R regarding its differential item functioning for men and women while taking response styles into account. To this end, mixed Rasch models were estimated first to identify latent classes that differed in their response style. These latent classes were identified as extreme response style (ERS) and nonextreme response style (NERS). Then, DIF analyses were conducted separately for the different response styles and compared with DIF results for the complete sample. Several items especially on Neuroticism, Agreeableness, and Conscientiousness facets showed gender-DIF and thus function differentially between men and women. DIF results differed mainly in size between the complete sample and the response style subsamples, though DIF classification was overall consistent between ERS, NERS, and the complete sample. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2013 APA, all rights reserved)

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