Title page for ETD etd-235115949751281

Type of Document Dissertation
Author Gratias, Melissa B.
Author's Email Address gratias@vt.edu
URN etd-235115949751281
Title Gender and Ethnicity-Based Differential Item Functioning on the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator
Degree Master of Science
Department Psychology
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
Foti, Roseanne J.
Hauenstein, Neil M. A.
Harvey, Robert J. Committee Chair
  • Item Response Theory
  • Differential Item Functioning
  • Item Bias
Date of Defense 1997-07-05
Availability unrestricted

Item Response Theory (IRT) methodologies were

employed in order to examine the Myers-Briggs Type

Indicator (MBTI) for differential item functioning (DIF) on

the basis of crossed gender and ethnicity variables. White

males were the reference group, and the focal groups

were: black females, black males, and white females. The

MBTI was predicted to show DIF in all comparisons. In

particular, DIF on the Thinking-Feeling scale was

hypothesized especially in the comparisons between white

males and black females and between white males and

white females. A sample of 10,775 managers who took

the MBTI at assessment centers provided the data for the

present experiment. The Mantel-Haenszel procedure and

an IRT-based area technique were the methods of


Results showed several biased items on all scales for all

comparisons. Ethnicity-based bias was seen in the white

male vs. black female and white male vs. black male

comparisons. Gender-based bias was seen particularly in

the white male vs. white female comparisons.

Consequently, the Thinking-Feeling showed the least DIF

of all scales across comparisons, and only one of the items

differentially scored by gender was found to be biased.

Findings indicate that the gender-based differential scoring

system is not defensible in managerial samples, and there is

a need for further research into the study of differential

item functioning with regards to ethnicity.

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