Effects of a general response style on cross-cultural comparisons: evidence from the teaching and learning international survey
Van de Vijver, Fons J.R.
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This paper investigates the integration of response styles (extreme and midpoint responding and socially desirable responding) and their effects on self-reports among 76,887 teachers from 18 countries in the Teaching and Learning International Survey (TALIS). Socially desirable responding (with a positive and a negative impression management factor) and 17 core constructs related to the teaching profession were measured with Likert scales; extreme and midpoint response styles were derived from these measures. Using factor analysis, a general response style was extracted with socially desirable and extreme response styles as positive indicators and midpoint response style as a negative indicator. This general response style was more strongly correlated with constructs of personal involvement, such as teacher efficacy and job satisfaction, than constructs with less personal involvement, at both the individual and country level; however, statistical correction for response styles had negligible effects on the size of cross-cultural differences and country rankings in any construct. We conclude that the general response style can be interpreted as response amplification versus moderation, and that there is no indication that correcting for the general response style increases the validity of cross-cultural comparisons of TALIS teacher data.