Personality in preschool aged children : preliminary psychometrics of the M5-PS

WCU Author/Contributor (non-WCU co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Amy Mary Scheck (Creator)
Western Carolina University (WCU )
Web Site:
L. Alvin Malesky, Jr.

Abstract: The study of personality and individual differences in adults has flourished over the past 30 years (Swann & Seyle, 2005). During this time, the Five Factor Model (FFM), most widely researched and defined by Costa and McCrae (1985, 1987), has dominated the field of personality psychology. The FFM suggests that personality can be reduced to five broad domains: Openness to Experience, Conscientiousness, Extraversion, Agreeableness, and Neuroticism. Personality research has focused predominantly on adult individual differences. Childhood individual differences have historically been measured through temperament, which holds a strong biological and genetic foundation. Despite temperament's firm hold on the exploration of childhood character differences, more recent studies have been conducted on the presence of the FFM in children (cf. Abe & Izard, 1999; Mervielde, Buyst, & De Fruyt, 1995). A measure of personality in children, ages 3 to 5, was developed to aid in the expansion of research in childhood individual differences. The M5-PS Questionnaire (Grist & McCord, 2006) was adapted from an adult personality measure, the M5 Questionnaire (McCord, 2002), in order to assess the FFM in children. The current study investigated the preliminary psychometrics of this measure. Pre-school aged children (ages 2-6) were assessed using the M5-PS and Children's Behavior Questionnaire- Very Short Form (CBQ-VSF); student teachers completed these measures based on their observations of children in a preschool setting. The M5-PS comprises 5 scales that correspond with the five personality domains, and has 90 items. Each of the 18-item scales was refined through the use of item removal in order to obtain maximum internal consistency. Scale refinement resulted in a 72-item measure. External validity of the M5-PS was explored through the relationship between temperament traits (measured using the CBQ-VSF) and personality domains. This relationship was explored both before and after scale refinement. Scale refinement improved internal validity of the M5-PS, yet it did not provide sufficient evidence that this tool is currently a cohesive, valid measure of childhood personality. Furthermore, fluctuation in correlations between personality and temperament before and after item removal demonstrates a lack of external validity. It is apparent that the M5-PS is in need of further refinement and development.

Additional Information

Language: English
Date: 2010
Assessment, Children, Five Factor Model, Personality, Psychometrics
Personality assessment of children
Personality tests for children
Behavioral assessment of children
Big Five model

Email this document to