How Negatively Worded Items Affect The Factorial Structure and The Internal Reliability of Psychological Scales?
This study empirically investigated the effects of including negatively worded items on the factor structure and internal reliability of phycological scales. Five scales commonly used in psychology and have both negatively and positively worded items have been selected and conducted in this study. These scales are: Helping Attitude, Life Orientation, Enrich Marital Satisfaction, Self-esteem, and State Self-Esteem. Five samples (588, 436, 355, 480, and 418) with a total of 2277 studentsfrom a medium-sized public university in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) participated in the study by responding to one of the five scales. Statistical analysis used exploratory factor analysis (EFA) with Principal Axis Factoring (PAF) as an extraction method and internal reliability analysis.Results of the Helping Attitude Scale showed that the scale has two factors: The first factor has an eigenvalue of 6.51, which can explain 32.57% of the total variance, and represents the positively worded item,while the second factor has an eigenvalue of 2.18, which can explain more than 14% of the total variance, and created by the negatively worded items. Results also showed that the reliability value of the whole scale is .78 which is less than the reliability values obtained for the positively worded items (.89) and the negatively worded items (.81). Similar results were obtained for the other four scales.This study concluded that negatively worded items are problematic, negatively impact the psychological scales factors structure, and decrease the internal reliability.
Keywords - Negatively Worded Items, Factor Structure, Factor Analysis Reliability, Psychological Scales,