A Unified Approach to Multi-item Reliability
Article first published online: 11 JAN 2010
© 2010, The International Biometric Society
Volume 66, Issue 4, pages 1061–1068, December 2010
How to Cite
Alonso, A., Laenen, A., Molenberghs, G., Geys, H. and Vangeneugden, T. (2010), A Unified Approach to Multi-item Reliability. Biometrics, 66: 1061–1068. doi: 10.1111/j.1541-0420.2009.01373.x
- Issue published online: 11 JAN 2010
- Article first published online: 11 JAN 2010
- Received April 2008. Revised September 2009. Accepted October 2009.
- Factor analysis;
- Multi-item rating scales;
Summary The reliability of multi-item scales has received a lot of attention in the psychometric literature, where a myriad of measures like the Cronbach's α or the Spearman–Brown formula have been proposed. Most of these measures, however, are based on very restrictive models that apply only to unidimensional instruments. In this article, we introduce two measures to quantify the reliability of multi-item scales based on a more general model. We show that they capture two different aspects of the reliability problem and satisfy a minimum set of intuitive properties. The relevance and complementary value of the measures is studied and earlier approaches are placed in a broader theoretical framework. Finally, we apply them to investigate the reliability of the Positive and Negative Syndrome Scale, a rating scale for the assessment of the severity of schizophrenia.