Psychology, Interamerican
A Short Version of the Big Five Inventory (BFI-20): Evidence on Construct Validity

How to Cite

Veloso Gouveia, V., de Carvalho Rodrigues Araújo, R., Vasconcelos de Oliveira, I. C., Pereira Gonçalves, M., Milfont, T., Lins de Holanda Coelho, G., Santos, W., de Medeiros, E. D., Silva Soares, A. K., Pereira Monteiro, R., Moura de Andrade, J., Medeiros Cavalcanti, T., da Silva Nascimento, B., & Gouveia, R. (2021). A Short Version of the Big Five Inventory (BFI-20): Evidence on Construct Validity . Revista Interamericana De Psicología/Interamerican Journal of Psychology, 55(1), e1312.


Several measures were developed in the past decades to measure personality, focusing on the Big Five Factor Model (BFFM; Openness, Conscientiousness, Extraversion, Agreeableness, and Neuroticism). Despite the relevance of their findings in different countries, a shared limitation of such measures is their length, demanding time from researchers and participants, which might cause boredom or fatigue, biasing the final results. This research aimed to provide a shorter version for the 44-Item Big Five Inventory (BFI), through two studies (NTotal = 8,119). The structure was assessed using a range of techniques (e.g., PAF analysis, Procrustes rotation). The best 20 items (4 per factor) were chosen to compose the final version of the BFI-20, which presented suitable psychometric evidences across the samples. Thus, due the growing need for shorter measures without losing their psychometric quality, our findings indicate the adequacy of the 20-item BFI and its potential applicability in research context.


Ames, D. R., Rose, P., & Anderson, C. P. (2006). The NPI-16 as a short measure of narcissism. Journal of Research in Personality, 40, 440-450.

Andrade, J. M. de (2008). Evidências de validade do inventário dos cinco grandes fatores de personalidade para o Brasil. Unpublished doctoral thesis. Brasília: University of Brasilia, Brazil.

Atmoko, D. D. (2013). Testing construct validity of the Big Five Inventory (Indonesian adaptation) using confirmatory factor analysis.

Barbaranelli, C., & Caprara, G. V. (1996). How many dimensions to describe personality? A comparison of Cattell, Comrey, and the big five taxonomies of personality traits. European Review of Applied Psychology, 46(1), 15-24.

Benet-Martínez, V., & John, O. P. (1998). Los cinco grandes across cultures and ethnic groups: Multitrait multimethod analysis of the Big Five in Spanish and English. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 75, 729-750.

Brislin R. W. (1970). Back‐translation for cross‐cultural research. Journal of Cross-Cultural Psychology, 1, 185-216.

Carvalho, L. F., Nunes, M. F. O., Primi, R., & Nunes, C. H. S. S. (2012). Unfavorable evidence for personality assessment with a 10-item instrument. Paidéia, 22(51), 63-71.

Clark, L. A., & Watson, D. (1995). Constructing validity: Basic issues in objective scale development. Psychological Assessment, 7, 309-319.

Costa, P. T., & McCrae, R. R. (1992). NEO PI-R professional manual. Odessa, FL: Psychological Assessment Resources.

Costa Jr, P., Terracciano, A., & McCrae, R. R. (2001). Gender differences in personality traits across cultures: robust and surprising findings. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 81, 322-331.

Credé, M., Harms, P., Niehorster, S., & Gaye-Valentine, A. (2012). An evaluation of the consequences of using short measures of the Big Five personality traits. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 102, 874-888.

Denissen, J. J., Geenen, R., Selfhout, M., & Van Aken, M. A. (2008). Single‐item Big Five ratings in a social network design. European Journal of Personality, 22, 37-54.

De Young, C. G., Hirsh, J. B., Shane, M. S., Papademetris, X., Rajeevan, N., & Gray, J. R. (2010). Testing predictions from personality neuroscience brain structure and the Big Five. Psychological Science, 21, 820-828.

Digman, J. M. (1990). Personality structure: Emergence of the five-factor model. Annual Review of Psychology, 41, 417-440.

Dumont, F. (2010). A history of personality psychology: Theory, science, and research from Hellenism to the twenty-first century. Cambridge University Press.

Dunn, T. J., Baguley, T., & Brunsden, V. (2014). From alpha to omega: A practical solution to the pervasive problem of internal consistency estimation. British journal of psychology, 105(3), 399-412.

Engvik, H. & Clausen, S. E. (2011). Norsk kortversjon av big five inventory (BFI-20). Tidsskr Nor Psyk, 48, 869-872.

Eysenck, H. J. (1991). Dimensions of personality: 16, 5 or 3? - Criteria for a taxonomic paradigm. Personality and Individual Differences, 12 (8), 773-790.

Fossati, A., Borroni, S., Marchione, D., & Maffei, C. (2011). The Big Five Inventory (BFI). European Journal of Psychological Assessment, 27, 50-58.

Goldberg, L. R. (1992). The development of markers for the Big Five factor structure. Psychological Assessment, 4, 26-42.

Goldberg, L. R. (1993). The structure of phenotypic personality traits. American Psychologist, 48, 26-34.

Goldberg, L. R., Johnson, J. A., Eber, H. W., Hogan, R., Ashton, M. C., Cloninger, C. R., & Gough, H. G. (2006). The international personality item pool and the future of public-domain personality measures. Journal of Research in Personality, 40, 84-96.

Gosling, S. D., Rentfrow, P. J., & Swann Jr, W. B. (2003). A very brief measure of the big-five personality domains. Journal of Research in Personality, 37, 504-528.

Gouveia, V. V., Milfont, T. L., Vione, K. C., & Santos, W. S. (2015). Guiding actions and expressing needs: On the psychological functions of values. Psykhe, 24(2), 1-14.

Gurven, M., von Rueden, C., Kaplan, H., & Lero Vie, M. (2013). How universal is the Big Five? Testing the five-factor model of personality variation among forager–farmers in the Bolivian Amazon. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 104 (2), 354-370.

Hair, J.F., Black, W.C., Babin, B.J., & Anderson, R.E. (2010). Multivariate data analysis (7th Ed.). Pearson.

Hall, C. S., Lindzey, G., & Campbell, J. B. (2000). Teorias da personalidade [Theories of perssonality]. Artmed.

Hah, E., Gottschling, J., & Spinath, F. M. (2012). Short measurements of personality – Validity and reliability of the GSOEP Big Five Inventory (BFI-S). Journal of Research in Personality, 46, 355–359.

John, O. P., Donahue, E. M., & Kentle, R. L. (1991). The Big Five Inventory – Versions 4a and 54. University of California, Berkeley, Institute of Personality and Social Research.

John, O. P., Naumann, L. P., & Soto, C. J. (2008). Paradigm shift to the integrative big five trait taxonomy: History, measurement, and conceptual issues. In O. P. John, R. W. Robins, & L. A. Pervin (Eds.), Handbook of personality: Theory and research (3rd ed., pp. 114-158). Guilford.

John, O. P., & Srivastava, S. (1999). The big-five trait taxonomy: History, measurement, and theoretical perspectives. In L. A. Pervin & O. P. John (Eds.), Handbook of personality: Theory and research (Vol. 2, pp. 102-138). Guilford Press.

Karaman, N. G., Dogan, T., & Coban, A. E. (2010). A study to adapt the big five inventory to Turkish. Procedia-Social and Behavioral Sciences, 2, 2357-2359.

Lang, F. R., John, D., Lüdtke, O., Schupp, J., & Wagner, G. G. (2011). Short assessment of the Big Five: Robust across survey methods except telephone interviewing. Behavior Research Methods, 43, 548-567.

Laros, J. A., Peres, A. J. de S., Andrade, J. M. de, & Passos, M. F. D. (2018). Validity evidence of two short scales measuring the Big Five personality factors. Psicologia: Reflexão e Crítica, 31(32).

Leung, Wong, Chan, & Lam, 2013 - Leung, D. Y., Wong, E. M., Chan, S. S., & Lam, T. H. (2013). Psychometric properties of the Big Five Inventory in a Chinese sample of smokers receiving cessation treatment: A validation study. Journal of Nursing Education and Practice, 3(6), 1-10.

Lorenzo-Seva. U., & ten Berge, J. M. F. (2006). Tucker’s congruence coefficient as a meaningful index of factor similarity. Methodology, 2(2), 57-64.

Marsh, H. W., Lüdtke, O., Muthén, O., Asparouhov, T., Morin, A. J. S., Trautwein, U., & Nagengast, B. (2010). A new look at the Big Five factor structure through exploratory structural equation modeling. Psychological Assessment, 22, 47–491.

McCabe, K. O., Van Yperen, N. W., Elliot, A. J., & Verbraak, M. (2013). Big Five personality profiles of context-specific achievement goals. Journal of Research in Personality. 47 (6), 698-707.

McCrae, R.R. (1992). An introduction to the five-factor model and its applications. Journal of Personality, 60, 175-215.

McCrae, R. R. (2011). Personality theories for the 21st century. Teaching of Psychology, 38, 209-214.

McCrae, R. R., Zonderman, A. B., Costa, P. T., Jr., Bond, M. H., & Paunonen, S. V. (1996). Evaluating replicability of factors in the Revised NEO Personality Inventory: Confirmatory factor analysis versus Procrustes rotation. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 70, 552-566.

O'Keefe, D. F., Kelloway, E. K., & Francis, R. (2012). Introducing the OCEAN.20: A 20-Item five-factor personality measure based on the trait self-descriptive inventory. Military Psychology, 24, 433-460.

Ostendorf, F., & Angleitner, A. (1994). A comparison of different instruments proposed to measure the Big Five. European Review of Applied Psychology, 44, 45-53.

Plaisant, O., Courtois, R., Réveillère, C., Mendelsohn, G. A., & John, O. P. (2010). Validation par analyse factorielle du Big Five Inventory Français (BFI-Fr). Analyse convergente avec le NEO-PI-R. Annales Médico-Psychologiques, Revue Psychiatrique, 168, 97-106.

Parks, L., & Guay, R. P. (2009). Personality, values, and motivation. Personality and Individual Differences, 47, 675-684.

Paunonen, S. V., & Jackson, D. N. (2000). What is beyond the Big Five? Plenty! Journal of Personality, 68, 821-835.

Rammstedt, B., & John, O. P. (2007). Measuring personality in one minute or less: A 10-item short version of the Big Five Inventory in English and German. Journal of Research in Personality, 41, 203-212.

Roccas, S., Sagiv, L., Schwartz, S. H., & Knafo, A. (2002). The big five personality factors and personal values. Personality and social psychology bulletin, 28(6), 789-801.

Saucier, G. (1994). Mini-markers: A brief version of Goldberg’s unipolar Big-Five markers. Journal of Personality Assessment, 63, 506–516.

Schmitt, D. P., Allik, J., McCrae, R. R., & Benet-Martínez, V. (2007). The geographic distribution of Big Five personality traits patterns and profiles of human self-description across 56 nations. Journal of Cross-Cultural Psychology, 38, 173-212.

Silva, I. B., & Nakano, T. D. C. (2011). Modelo dos Cinco Grandes Fatores da personalidade: Análise de pesquisas [Big Five factor model: Research analysis]. Avaliação Psicológica, 10, 51-62.

Spörrle, M., & Bekk, M. (2014). Meta-analytic guidelines for evaluating single-item reliabilities of personality instruments. Assessment, 21(3), 272-285.

Soto, C. J., & John, O. P. (2009). Ten facet scales for the Big Five Inventory: Convergence with NEO PI-R facets, self-peer agreement, and discriminant validity. Journal of Research in Personality, 43, 84-90.

Soto, C. J., & John, O. P. (2012). Development of Big Five domains and facets in adulthood: Mean‐level age trends and broadly versus narrowly acting mechanisms. Journal of Personality, 80, 881-914.

Soto, C. J., & John, O. P. (2017). Short and extra-short forms of the Big Five Inventory–2: The BFI-2-S and BFI-2-XS. Journal of Research in Personality, 68, 69–81.

Srivastava, S., John, O. P., Gosling, S. D., & Potter, J. (2003). Development of personality in early and middle adulthood: Set like plaster or persistent change?. Journal of personality and social psychology, 84(5), 1041-1053.

van der Linden, D., te Nijenhuis, J., & Bakker, A. B. (2010). The General Factor of Personality: A meta-analysis of Big Five intercorrelations and a criterion-related validity study. Journal of Research in Personality, 44, 315-327.

van Sonderen, E., Sanderman, R., & Coyne, J. C. (2013). Ineffectiveness of reverse wording of questionnaire ítems: Let’s learn from cows in the rain. PLOS ONE 8(9).

Woods, S. A., & Hampson, S. E. (2005). Measuring the Big Five with single items using a bipolar response scale. European Journal of Personality, 19, 373-390.

Worrell, F. C., & Cross Jr., W. E. (2004). The reliability and validity of Big Five Inventory scores with African American college students. Journal of Multicultural Counseling and Development, 32, 18-32.

Wright, A. G. C. (2017). Factor analytic support for the Five Factor Model. In T. A. Widiger (Ed.), The Oxford handbook of the Five Factor Model (pp. 217-242). Oxford University Press.

Yarkoni, T. (2010). The abbreviation of personality, or how to measure 200 personality scales with 200 items. Journal of Research in Personality, 44, 180-198.

Yuan, K., & Bentler, P. M. (2002). On robustness of the normal-theory based asymptotic distributions of three reliability coeficiente estimates. Psychometrika, 67, 251–259.

Creative Commons License

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.

Copyright (c) 2021 Valdiney Veloso Gouveia, Rafaella de Carvalho Rodrigues Araújo, Isabel Cristina Vasconcelos de Oliveira, Marina Pereira Gonçalves, Taciano Milfont, Gabriel Lins de Holanda Coelho, Walberto Santos, Emerson Diógenes de Medeiros, Ana Karla Silva Soares, Renan Pereira Monteiro, Josemberg Moura de Andrade, Thiago Medeiros Cavalcanti, Bruna da Silva Nascimento, Rildésia Gouveia