The HEX-ACO-18: Developing an age-invariant HEXACO short scale using ant colony optimization

Gabriel Olaru*, Kristin Jankowsky

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

13 Citations (Scopus)
73 Downloads (Pure)


In this study, we developed an age-invariant 18-item short form of the HEXACO Personality Inventory for use in developmental personality research. We combined the item selection procedure ant colony optimization (ACO) and the model estimation approach local structural equation modeling (LSEM). ACO is a metaheuristic algorithm that evaluates items based on the quality of the resulting short scale, thus directly optimizing criteria that can only be estimated with combinations of items, such as model fit and measurement invariance. LSEM allows for model estimation and measurement invariance testing across a continuous age variable by weighting participants, rather than splitting the sample into artificial age groups. Using a HEXACO-100 dataset of N = 6,419 participants ranging from 16 to 90 years of age, we selected a short form optimized for model fit, measurement invariance, facet coverage, and balance of item keying. To achieve scalar measurement invariance and brevity, but maintain construct coverage, we selected 18 items to represent three out of four facets from each HEXACO trait domain. The resulting HEX-ACO-18 short scale showed adequate model fit and scalar measurement invariance across age. Furthermore, the usefulness and versatility of the item and person sampling procedures ACO and LSEM is demonstrated.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)435-446
JournalJournal of Personality Assessment
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2022


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