Personality change through a digital-coaching intervention: Using measurement invariance testing to distinguish between trait domain, facet, and nuance change

Gabriel Olaru*, Mirjam Stieger, Dominik Rüegger, Tobias Kowatsch, Christoph Flückiger, Brent W Roberts, Mathias Allemand*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

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Abstract

Recent intervention research has shown that personality traits can be modified through psychological interventions. However, it is unclear whether reported effects represent changes in the trait domain or only some facets or items. Using data ( N = 552) from a recent intervention trial, the present study examined the effects of a digital-coaching intervention on self- and observer-reported personality facets and items. We focused on participants who wanted to decrease in Negative Emotionality, increase in Conscientiousness or increase in Extraversion. We used measurement invariance testing to examine which level of the trait domain hierarchy changed during the intervention. For the self-reports, we found some heterogeneity in the effects on all three trait domains, but most notably Extraversion and Conscientiousness. Specifically, participants reported to increase strongly on sociability (Extraversion), and moderately on productiveness and organization (Conscientiousness), but not on the other facets of these trait domains. Observers generally reported small but non-significant changes, with no scalar invariance violations except for Extraversion. Overall, this suggests considerable heterogeneity in intervention-related personality change that can be overlooked if only focusing on the trait domain level. We discuss the relevance of measurement invariance testing and measurement approaches for personality development and intervention research.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages17
JournalEuropean Journal of Personality
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 2023

Keywords

  • AGE-DIFFERENCES
  • BEHAVIOR
  • BIG 5
  • DEPRESSION
  • MODEL
  • OF-FIT INDEXES
  • SENSITIVITY
  • digital-coaching intervention
  • facets
  • measurement invariance
  • personality change
  • personality coach

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