Rotation to Maximize the Construct Validity of Factors in the NEO Personality Inventory

Robert R. McCrae, Paul T. Costa

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

106 Scopus citations


The NEO Personality Inventory (NEO-PI) consists of 5 global domain and 18 specific facet scales developed to measure aspects of the five major dimensions of normal personality. To obtain optimal measures of these five dimensions from the NEO-PI scales, a method for the orthogonal rotation of principal components to maximize the convergent and discriminant validity of the rotated factors (validimax rotation) is proposed and applied to NEO-PI factors. Self-report data from 983 men and women were used to obtain the factors, and six alternative operationalizations of the five-factor model were used as external criteria to guide rotation. The rotation obtained was cross-validated on peer and spouse ratings on the NEO-PI, and in a second sample. NEO-PI domain scales, varimax factors, and validimax factors all showed evidence of construct validity, but validimax factors were somewhat superior, especially as measures of Agreeableness and Conscientiousness.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)107-124
Number of pages18
JournalMultivariate Behavioral Research
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 1989
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Statistics and Probability
  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)


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