Janek Musek

What only can provide a solid ground for human civilisation? Research – based on values and ethical standards.

Toward the best structural model of personality: classical hierarchy or bifactor structure?


According to the most recent structural models in the field of personality, the dimensions of personality (personality traits) are organized along five levels of generality: specific units (like the items of personality questionnaires), facets of personality, primary dimensions (like Big Five), superdimensions of personality (like Big Two) and general factor of personality (GFP). The question arises therefore, how the higher-order dimensions of personality are related: in the classical hierarchical order or in the concordance of the bifactor structure. The present study is designed to analyze the dimensional structure of the personality including the five basic dimensions of personality (the Big Five) and also the additional psychological variables related to the wider spectrum of personality (dimensions of well-being, coping, control and others). The data for the analyses were taken from the representative sample of the adult Americans (MIDUS II). Hierarchical and bifactor models were tested and compared using different multivariate techniques including Schmid Leiman Transformation procedure and different SEM (structural equation modeling) procedures. The existence of higher-order dimensions of personality was confirmed in all confirmatory analyses. Also, the fit indices demonstrating the suitability of both structural models, hierarchical and bifactor, were calculated and compared. Both hierarchical and bifactor model fitted the entered data adequately in most cases, although in some of them, the bifactor model was better than hierarchical, while in some others the opposite was true. Thus, we may accept the conclusion, that the suitability of hierarchical versus bifactor modeling of personality structure depends on the specific context of the domains and variables of personality included into the research model.