The Factor Structure of Chinese Personality Terms


  • This research was supported in part by grants from the Ministry of Education of China (No. 06JC840001), 985-2 Research Program (No. 2006-90015-3272210), Youth Grant, and 100 Talents Program of Sun Yat-Sen University.

concerning this article should be addressed to Xinyue Zhou, Department of Psychology, Sun Yat-Sen University, Guangzhou 510275, China. E-mail:


ABSTRACT From the Contemporary Chinese Dictionary, 3,159 personality descriptors were selected and then ranked by the frequency of use. Among those, the top 413 terms with the highest frequency were administered to two independent large samples in China for self-ratings and peer ratings to explore the emic Chinese personality structure as well as to test the universality of other models. One- and two-factor structures found in previous studies of other languages were well replicated. Previous structures with more than two factors were not well replicated, but six- and seven-factor models were at least as well supported as the Big Five. Emic analysis indicated that a seven-factor structure was the most informative structure relatively salient across subsamples of self-ratings and peer ratings, across original and ipsatized data, and across differences in variable selections. These factors can be called Extraversion, Conscientiousness/Diligence, Unselfishness, Negative Valence, Emotional Volatility, Intellect/Positive Valence, and Dependency/Fragility.