Attitude toward ambiguity: Empirically robust factors in self-report personality scales

Marco Lauriola, Renato Foschi, Oriana Mosca, Joshua Weller

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

48 Citations (Scopus)


Two studies were conducted to examine the factor structure of attitude toward ambiguity, a broad personality construct that refers to personal reactions to perceived ambiguous stimuli in a variety of context and situations. Using samples from two countries, Study 1 mapped the hierarchical structure of 133 items from seven tolerance-intolerance of ambiguity scales (N = 360, Italy; N = 306, United States). Three major factors-Discomfort with Ambiguity, Moral Absolutism/Splitting, and Need for Complexity and Novelty-were recovered in each country with high replicability coefficients across samples. In Study 2 (N = 405, Italian community sample; N =366, English native speakers sample), we carried out a confirmatory analysis on selected factor markers. A bifactor model had an acceptable fit for each sample and reached the construct-level invariance for general and group factors. Convergent validity with related traits was assessed in both studies. We conclude that attitude toward ambiguity can be best represented a multidimensional construct involving affective (Discomfort with Ambiguity), cognitive (Moral Absolutism/Splitting), and epistemic (Need for Complexity and Novelty) components.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)353-73
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • Adult
  • Attitude
  • Cultural Characteristics
  • Emotions
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Italy
  • Male
  • Personality Tests
  • Self Report
  • United States


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