Standard Article


  1. Frederick L. Coolidge,
  2. Daniel L. Segal

Published Online: 30 JAN 2010

DOI: 10.1002/9780470479216.corpsy1019

Corsini Encyclopedia of Psychology

Corsini Encyclopedia of Psychology

How to Cite

Coolidge, F. L. and Segal, D. L. 2010. Validity. Corsini Encyclopedia of Psychology. 1–2.

Author Information

  1. University of Colorado at Colorado Springs

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 30 JAN 2010


Validity can be defined as the extent to which a test accurately reflects or assesses the specific construct it purports to measure. Whereas reliability is concerned with the consistency or stability of measurements, validity is concerned with the meaningfulness and usefulness of the specific inferences made from test scores. For a test of anxiety, for example, the question of its validity would be whether the test actually measures the known domains of anxiety, such as anxious thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. A truism is that a test can be reliable (i.e., stable and consistent) but not valid, but a test cannot be valid without first being reliable. The question of a test's validity is both an empirical issue and a theoretical one. The validity of any psychological test cannot be absolutely established but only relatively established, because there is no gold standard of validity in measurement. There are also many different types of validity including face, content, criterion, construct, and concurrent validity.


  • validity;
  • face validity;
  • content validity;
  • criterion validity;
  • construct validity;
  • concurrent validity