Item placement on a personality measure: Effects on faking behavior and test measurement properties

Lynn A. McFarland, Ann Marie Ryan, Aleksander Ellis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

44 Scopus citations


Although personality tests are widely used to select applicants for a variety of jobs, there is concern that such measures are fakable. One procedure used to minimize faking has been to disguise the true intent of personality tests by randomizing items such that items measuring similar constructs are dispersed throughout the test. In this study, we examined if item placement does influence the fakability and psychometric properties of a personality measure. Study participants responded to 1 of 2 formats (random vs. grouped items) of a personality test honestly and also under instructions to fake or to behave like an applicant. Results indicate that the grouped item placement format was more fakable for the Neuroticism and Conscientiousness scales. The test with items randomly placed fit the data better within the honest and applicant conditions. These findings demonstrate that the issue of item placement should be seriously considered before administering personality measures because different item presentations may affect the incidence of faking and the psychometric properties of the measure.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)348-369
Number of pages22
JournalJournal of Personality Assessment
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2002

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis


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