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Reliability of circumplex axes

Type of publication Peer-reviewed
Publikationsform Original article (peer-reviewed)
Publication date 2013
Author Strack M. Jacobs I. & Grosse Holtforth M. ,
Project Explicit and implicit change of depression in exposure-based cognitive therapy
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Original article (peer-reviewed)

Journal SAGE Open
Volume (Issue) 3
Page(s) 1 - 12
Title of proceedings SAGE Open
DOI 10.1177/2158244013486115

Open Access

Type of Open Access Publisher (Gold Open Access)


We present a confirmatory factor analysis (CFA) procedure for computing the reliability of circumplex axes. The tau-equivalent CFA variance decomposition model estimates five variance components: general factor, axes, scale-specificity, block-specificity, and item-specificity. Only the axes variance component is used for reliability estimation. We apply the model to six circumplex types and 13 instruments assessing interpersonal and motivational constructs—Interpersonal Adjective List (IAL), Interpersonal Adjective Scales (revised; IAS-R), Inventory of Interpersonal Problems (IIP), Impact Messages Inventory (IMI), Circumplex Scales of Interpersonal Values (CSIV), Support Action Scale Circumplex (SAS-C), Interaction Problems With Animals (IPI-A), Team Role Circle (TRC), Competing Values Leadership Instrument (CV-LI), Love Styles, Organizational Culture Assessment Instrument (OCAI), Customer Orientation Circle (COC), and System for Multi-Level Observation of Groups (behavioral adjectives; SYMLOG)—in 17 German-speaking samples (29 subsamples, grouped by self-report, other report, and metaperception assessments). The general factor accounted for a proportion ranging from 1% to 48% of the item variance, the axes component for 2% to 30%; and scale specificity for 1% to 28%, respectively. Reliability estimates varied considerably from .13 to .92. An application of the Nunnally and Bernstein formula proposed by Markey, Markey, and Tinsley overestimated axes reliabilities in cases of large-scale specificities but otherwise works effectively. Contemporary circumplex evaluations such as Tracey’s RANDALL are sensitive to the ratio of the axes and scale-specificity components. In contrast, the proposed model isolates both components.