An item response theory analysis of Harter’s self-perception profile for children or why strong clinical scales should be distrusted

I.J.L. Egberink, R.R. Meijer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademic

26 Citations (Scopus)


The authors investigated the psychometric properties of the subscales of the Self-Perception Profile for Children with item response theory (IRT) models using a sample of 611 children. Results from a nonparametric Mokken analysis and a parametric IRT approach for boys (n = 268) and girls (n = 343) were compared. The authors found that most scales formed weak scales and that measurement precision was relatively low and only present for latent trait values indicating low self-perception. The subscales Physical Appearance and Global Self-Worth formed one strong scale. Children seem to interpret Global Self-Worth items as if they measure Physical Appearance. Furthermore, the authors found that strong Mokken scales (such as Global Self-Worth) consisted mostly of items that repeat the same item content. They conclude that researchers should be very careful in interpreting the total scores on the different Self-Perception Profile for Children scales. Finally, implications for further research are discussed.
Original languageUndefined
Pages (from-to)201-212
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2011


  • IR-104213
  • Mokken scaling
  • measurement precision
  • Personality assessment
  • Item Response Theory
  • graded response model

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