Acquiescence response bias—yeasaying and higher education

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Abstract

Acquiescence response bias is the tendency to agree to questionnaires irrespective of item content or direction, and is problematic for both researchers and clinicians. Further research is warranted to clarify factors relating to the confounding influence of acquiescence. Building on previous research that investigated the interaction between acquiescence, age, and secondary education, the current study has considered the role of adult higher educational achievement and acquiescence. Using the Big Five Inventory (BFI), acquiescence scores were calculated for a sample of 672 Australian adults (age M = 41.38, SD = 12.61). There was a significant inverse relationship between the variance in acquiescence scores and formal education. The greatest difference was found between the lowest education groups and the highest education groups, with the variance of the lower groups more than twice as large as the higher groups. The confounding influence of acquiescence was demonstrated using the BFI and targeted rotation to an ideal matrix, where worse model fit was found in the lower education group compared to the higher group. Implications for both researchers and clinicians are explored.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)105-119
Number of pages15
JournalThe Australian Educational and Developmental Psychologist
Volume32
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2015

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