A general response style factor: evidence from a multi–ethnic study in the Netherlands
Van de Vijver, Fons J.R.
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In a cross-cultural study we addressed commonalities and differences of acquiescence, extremity, midpoint responding, and socially desirable responding that can be taken to constitute a single underlying response style. Participants were 548 Dutch nationals and 1116 first- and second-generation immigrants of Western and Non-Western origins in the Netherlands. Self-report measures of the four response styles, and personality traits were administered. Conventional, indirect measures of acquiescence, extremity, and midpoint responding were also calculated. A multigroup confirmatory factor analysis showed support for a general response style factor with positive loadings of extremity and socially desirable responding, and negative loadings of acquiescence and midpoint responding. The response style factor was strongly associated with personality (notably the ‘‘Big One’’ factor). Furthermore, acquiescence and impression management were related to agreeableness, extremity and midpoint responding to extraversion, and self-deceptive enhancement to neuroticism. These findings support a view that there is a general response style factor and that, in addition, each response style has some unique meaning. The ethnic groups differed significantly on response style use, with Non-Western immigrants showing higher acquiescence and midpoint responding than the other groups. The general response style factor can be interpreted as a communication filter that moderates self-reports. Implications are discussed