ERIC Number: ED242772
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1984-Feb-20
The Bias of Negatively Worded Items in Ratings Scales for Preadolescent Children: A Cognitive-Developmental Phenomenon.
Marsh, Herbert W.
Negative item bias is produced by the inability of preadolescent children to respond appropriately to negatively worded items on rating scales, and is hypothesized to be a cognitive-developmental phenomenon. The effect is examined with responses to the Self Description-Questionnaire (SDQ), a multifactor self-concept instrument. In study 1, response to positive and negative items were uncorrelated in grade 2 but were substantially correlated by grade 5. In study 2, confirmatory factor analysis of response by grade 5 students demonstrated that the negative items contributed both to the scale they were designed to measure and to a "negative item" factor. The negative item factor was nearly uncorrelated with any of the self-concept factors, but was substantially correlated with reading achievement. The two studies demonstrate that younger children and children with poorer reading skills are less able to respond appropriately to negatively-worded items, and that this effect produces a bias in their response to the SDQ. This supports the contention that the effect is a cognitive-developmental phenomenon. (Author/PN)
Publication Type: Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A