Construct validity, dimensionality and factorial invariance of the Rosenberg Self-Esteem Scale: a bifactor modelling approach among children of prisoners
More details
Hide details
Submission date: 2014-10-21
Final revision date: 2014-11-06
Acceptance date: 2014-11-06
Online publication date: 2014-12-08
Publication date: 2014-12-01
Current Issues in Personality Psychology 2014;2(4):228-236
The Rosenberg Self-Esteem Scale (RSES) has traditionally been conceptualised as a unidimensional measure of self-esteem, but empirical evidence is equivocal, with some studies supporting a one-factor solution and others favouring multidimensional models.

Participants and procedure
The aim of this study was to examine the factor structure, factorial invariance and composite reliability of the RSES within a European sample of children affected by parental imprisonment (N = 724). The study specified and tested six alternative factor models using conventional confirmatory factor analytic (CFA) techniques and a confirmatory bifactor modelling approach.

The RSES was most effectively represented by a bifactor model including a general self-esteem factor comprising all ten scale items and separate method effects for the positively and negatively phrased items. This model was found to be factorially invariant among boys and girls. Composite reliability indicated good internal consistency for the general self-esteem dimension but slightly less so for the positive and negative method effects.

It follows that the calculation of a total RSES score is appropriate for children of prisoners, providing that the presence of method effects is taken into consideration to avoid giving rise to false interpretations. This study demonstrated the application of a bifactorial modeling approach as a potential solution.
Aebi, M. F., & Delgrande, N. (2013). Council of Europe Annual Penal Statistics SPACE 1, 2011 Survey on Prison Populations. Strasbourg: Council of Europe.
Akaike, H. (1974). A new look at the statistical model identification. IEEE Transactions on Automatic Control, 19, 716-723.
Bagozzi, R. P. (1993). Assessing construct validity in personality research: Applications to measures of self-esteem. Journal of Research in Personality, 27, 49-87.
Bagozzi, R. P., & Yi, Y. (1988). On the evaluation of structural equation models. Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science, 16, 74-94.
Bentler, P. M. (1990). Comparative fit indices in structural models. Psychological Bulletin, 107, 238-246.
Bocknek, E. L., Sanderson, J., & Britner, P. A. (2009). Ambiguous loss and posttraumatic stress in school-age children of prisoners. Journal of Child and Family Studies, 18, 323-333.
Boduszek, D., Hyland, P., Dinghra, K., & Mallet, J. (2013). The factor structure and composite reliability of the Rosenberg Self-Esteem Scale among ex-prisoners. Personality and Individual Differences, 55, 877-887.
Boduszek, D., Shevlin, M., Mallett, J., Hyland, P., & O’Kane, D. (2012). Dimensionality and construct validity of the Rosenberg Self-Esteem Scale within a sample of recidivistic prisoners. Journal of Criminal Psychology, 2, 19-25.
Bollen, K. A. (1989). Structural equations with latent variables. New York: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
Brown, T. A. (2006). Confirmatory factor analysis for applied research. New York: The Guilford Press.
Brown, K., Dibb, L., Shenton, F., & Elson, N. (2000). No-One’s Ever Asked Me: Young People with a Prisoner in the Family. London: Action for Prisoners Families.
Carmines, E. G., & Zeller, R. A. (1979). Reliability and validity assessment. Beverly Hills, CA: Sage.
Corwyn, R. F. (2000). The factor structure of global self-esteem among adolescents and adults. Journal of Research in Personality, 34, 357-379.
Cunningham, A. (2001). Forgotten Families – the impacts of imprisonment. Family Matters, 59, 36-37.
Diamantopoulos, A., & Siguaw, J. A. (2000). Introducing LISREL. London: Sage Publications.
Dunbar, M., Ford, G., Hunt, K., & Der, G. (2000). Question wording effects in the assessment of global self-esteem. European Journal of Psychological Assessment, 16, 13-19.
Gana, K., Alaphilippe, D., & Bailly, N. (2005). Factorial Structure of the French Version of the Rosenberg Self-Esteem Scale Among the Elderly. International Journal of Testing, 5, 169-176.
Hanlon, T. E., Blatchley, R. J., Bennett-Sears, T., O’Grady, K. E., Rose, M., & Callaman, J. M. (2005). Vulnerability of children of incarcerated addict mothers: Implications for preventive intervention. Children and Youth Services Review, 27, 67-84.
Hare, G. R. (1980). Self-perception and academic achievement: Variations in a desegregated setting. American Journal of Psychiatry, 137, 683-689.
Harrison, K. (1997). Parental training for incarcerated fathers: effects on attitudes, self-esteem, and children’s self-perceptions. The Journal of Social Psychology, 137, 588-593.
Harter, S. (1988). Manual for the Self-Perception Profile for Adolescents. Denver: University of Denver.
Harter, S. (1985). Manual for the Self-Perception Profile for Children. Denver: University of Denver.
Hissel, S., Bijleveld, C., & Kruttschnitt, C. (2011). The well-being of children of incarcerated mothers: An exploratory study for the Netherlands. European Journal of Criminology, 8, 346-360.
Hu, L., & Bentler, P. M. (1999). Cutoff criteria for fit indexes in covariance structure analysis: Conventional criteria versus new alternatives. Structural Equation Modelling, 6, 1-55.
Huang, C., & Dong, N. (2012). Factor structures of the Rosenberg Self-Esteem Scale: A meta-analysis of pattern matrices. European Journal of Psychological Assessment, 28, 132-138.
Hyland, P., Boduszek, D., Dhingra, K., Shevlin, M., & Egan, A. (2014). A bifactor approach to modelling the Rosenberg Self-Esteem Scale. Personality and Individual Differences, 66, 188-192.
Jones, A., Gallagher, B., Manby, M., Robertson, O., Schü­tzwohl, M., Berman, A., Hirschfield, A., Ayre, L., Urban, M., Sharratt, K., & Christmann, K. (2013). Children of Prisoners: Interventions and mitigations to strengthen mental health. Huddersfield: University of Huddersfield.
Joreskog, K., & Sorbom, D. (1981). LISREL V: Analysis of linear structural relationships by the method of maximum likelihood. Chicago: National Educational Resources.
Kaufman, P., Rasinski, K. A., Lee, R., & West, J. (1991). National Education Longitudinal Study of 1988. Quality of the responses of eighth-grade students in NELS88. Washington, DC: US Department of Education.
Kline, P. (1994). An easy guide to factor analysis. New York: Routledge.
Marsh, H. M. (1996). Positive and negative global self-esteem: A substantial meaningful distinction or artifactors? Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 70, 810-819.
Marsh, H. W., Scalas, L. F., & Nagengast, B. (2010). Longitudinal tests of competing factor structures for the Rosenberg Self-Esteem Scale: Traits, ephemeral artifacts, and stable response styles. Psychological Assessment, 22, 366-381.
Murray, J. (2007). The cycle of punishment: Social Exclusion of Prisoners and their children. Criminology and Criminal Justice, 7, 55-81.
Murray, J., & Farrington, D. P. (2008). Parental imprisonment: Long-lasting effects on boys’ internalizing problems through the life course. Development and Psychopathology, 20, 273-290.
Murray, J., Farrington, D. P., Sekol, I., & Olsen, R. F. (2009). Effects of parental imprisonment on child antisocial behaviour and mental health: a systematic review. Campbell Systematic Reviews.
Muthen, L. K., & Muthen, B. O. (1998). Mplus – Statistical analysis with latent variables. User’s guide (6th ed.). Los Angeles: Muthen and Muthen.
Piers, E. V. (1984). Piers-Harris children’s self-concept scale revised manual. Los Angeles, CA7 Western Psychological Services.
Pyszczynski, T., Greenberg, J., Solomon, S., Arndt, J., & Schimel, J. (2004). Why do people need self-esteem? A theoretical and empirical review. Psychological Bulletin, 130, 435.
Quilty, L. C., Oakman, J. M., & Risko, E. (2006). Correlates of the Rosenberg Self-Esteem Scale Method Effects, Structural Equation Modeling. A Multidisciplinary Journal, 13, 99-117.
Raykov, T. (1998). Coefficient alpha and composite reliability with interrelated nonhomogeneous items. Applied Psychological Measurement, 22, 375-385.
Reise, S. P., Morizot, J., & Hays, R. D. (2007). The role of the bifactor model in resolving dimensionality issues in health outcomes measures. Quality of Life Research, 16, 19-31.
Reise, S. P., Moore, T. M., & Haviland, M. G. (2010). Bifactor models and rotations: Exploring the extent to which multidimensional data yield univocal scale scores. Journal of Personality Assessment, 92, 544-559.
Rock, D. A., Werts, C. E., & Flaugher, R. L. (1978). The use of analysis of covariance structures for comparing the psychometric properties of multiple variables across populations. Multivariate Behavioural Research, 13, 403-418.
Rosenberg, M. (1965). Society and the adolescent self-image. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.
Rosenberg, M. (1989). Society and the adolescent self-image (rev. ed.). Middeltown, CT: Wesleyan University Press.
Shevlin, M., Bunting, B. P., & Lewis, C. A. (1995). Confirmatory factor analysis of the Rosenberg Self-Esteem Scale. Psychological Reports, 76, 707-710.
Springer, D. W., Lynch, C., & Rubin, A. (2000). Effects of a solution-focused mutual aid group for Hispanic children of incarcerated parents. Child and Adolescent Social Work Journal, 17, 431-442.
Steiger, J. H. (1990). Structural model evaluation and modification: An interval estimation approach. Multivariate Behavioural Research, 25, 173-180.
Tanaka, J. S. (1987). How big is big enough? Sample size and goodness of fit in structural equation models with latent variables. Child Development, 58, 134-146.
Tomás, J. M., & Oliver, A. (1999). Rosenberg’s Self-Esteem Scale: Two factors or method effects. Structural Equation Modeling, 6, 84-98.
Tucker, L. R., & Lewis, C. (1973). The reliability coefficient for maximum likelihood factor analysis. Psychometrika, 38, 1-10.
Copyright: © Institute of Psychology, University of Gdansk This is an Open Access journal, all articles are distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International (CC BY-NC-SA 4.0) License (, allowing third parties to copy and redistribute the material in any medium or format and to remix, transform, and build upon the material, provided the original work is properly cited and states its license.
Journals System - logo
Scroll to top