Evaluation of the 16 Personality Factor Questionnaire (16 PF)

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Evaluation of the 16 Personality Factor Questionnaire (16 PF)

The 16 Personality Factor Questionnaire (16 PF) is a comprehensive self report questionnaire, invented by Raymond B. Cattell, that is used to provide in-depth evaluation of the human personality. Cattell et al. (1970) employed a statistical technique called the Multiple Abstract Variance Analysis (MAVA) to identify “surface traits”, consistent behavioral responses, and “temperament and ability source traits”, underlying variables that determine surface traits. The 16 PF measures these traits by dividing the human personality into sixteen factors – warmth, reasoning, emotional stability, dominance, liveliness, rule consciousness, social boldness, sensitivity, vigilance, abstractedness, privateness, apprehension, openness to change, self-reliance, perfectionism, and tension. Each scale score is interpreted as being low score direction vs. high score direction. By adding points for marked choices, factor by factor, raw scores can be obtained (Schuerger, 1992). Cattell et al. (1970) believed that all 16 factors were necessary for a comprehensive measurement of personality. The test has been modified throughout the years, with the 5th edition being the most recent version, and has now established itself as one of the best questionnaires to evaluate personality trait (Reilly, 1996).

The 16 PF has overcome other psychological tests due to the following reasons: it has the ability to define basic personality without the need of regarding to how it is applied in different environments. In other words, it is universal and very applicable. Its comprehensiveness, functional relation to personality structure, and simplicity of concepts allow the 16 PF to be applied in many different contexts such as clinical, educational, industrial, or basic research fields (Cattell et al., 1970). The test is easy to administer, allowing the experimenter to familiarize with the use of apparatus easily; it is time saving, requiring no more than an hour to construct a personal profile (Schuerger, 1992); it is economical, allowing a wide range of practitioners to carry it out regardless of their financial resources. Since the test administration is straight forward and no time limit is applied, it does not require particularly active supervision by the experimenter (Schuerger, 1992). With the evolution of technology, the 16 PF can now be taken on the internet and scoring can be done on computer, meaning a significant increase in the efficiency and practicability of the test. Kitchenham and Pfleeger (2002) suggested that the result of a questionnaire must be useful to participants in order to create a motivation for taking the test. By giving feedbacks to subjects, the 16 PF allows them to come to an understanding of their psyche. So as to maximize its adaptability to specific purpose of studies, the 16 PF was divided into several forms to provide equivalent forms to re-test the same subjects, suit subjects with various reading level and different socio-educational background, and offer different combinations to be used to fit different testing time (Cattell et al., 1970). To sum up, the 16 PF offers the fastest way to measure primary personality factors, with good comprehensiveness and predictive ability, regarding everyday life criteria in applied psychology (Cattell et al., 1970).

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In the context of sports, the 16 PF plays a significant role in psychological studies. By discovering innate traits, Ackland (1994) believed that elite athletes can be predicted and extinguished from the general population. Kroll and Peterson (1965) studied the personality characteristics of winning and loosing football teams and discovered specific traits in the winning teams. Besides, the test could be used to determine the sport that an individual is best suited, discover one’s psychological strengths and weaknesses, identify potential emotional or social problems, and assist clinical diagnosis and therapy planning. The 16 PF was employed by Bacanac (2001) ...

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