Measuring the Big Five with single items using a bipolar response scale

Stephen A. Woods, Sarah E. Hampson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The convergence on the Big Five in personality theory has produced a demand for efficient yet psychometrically sound measures. Therefore, five single-item measures, using bipolar response scales, were constructed to measure the Big Five and evaluated in terms of their convergent and off-diagonal divergent properties, their pattern of criterion correlations and their reliability when compared with four longer Big Five measures. In a combined sample (N?=?791) the Single-Item Measures of Personality (SIMP) demonstrated a mean convergence of r?=?0.61 with the longer scales. The SIMP also demonstrated acceptable reliability, self–other accuracy, and divergent correlations, and a closely similar pattern of criterion correlations when compared with the longer scales. It is concluded that the SIMP offer a reasonable alternative to longer scales, balancing the demands of brevity versus reliability and validity.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)373-390
Number of pages18
JournalEuropean Journal of Personality
Issue number5
Early online date17 Aug 2005
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2005


  • Big Five
  • personality theory
  • bipolar response scales
  • convergence
  • off-diagonal divergence
  • pattern of criterion correlations
  • reliability
  • single-utem measures of personality
  • SIMP
  • acceptable reliability
  • self–other accuracy
  • divergent correlations
  • criterion correlations


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