TitleSelection, optimization, and compensation: The structure, reliability, and validity of forced-choice versus Likert-type measures in a sample of late adolescents
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2015
AuthorsGeldhof, GJ, Gestsdottir, S, Stefansson, K, Johnson, SK, Bowers, EP, Lerner, RM
JournalInternational Journal of Behavioral Development
Date Published03/2015

Intentional self-regulation (ISR) undergoes significant development across the life span. However, our understanding of ISR’s development and function remains incomplete, in part because the field’s conceptualization and measurement of ISR vary greatly. A key sample case involves how Baltes and colleagues’ Selection, Optimization, and Compensation (SOC) model of ISR, which was developed with adult populations, may be applied to understand and measure adolescent self-regulation. The tripartite structure of SOC identified in older populations has not been replicated in adolescent samples. This difference may be due to measurement issues. In this article, we addressed whether using a Likert-type format instead of a forced-choice format of the SOC Questionnaire resulted in a tripartite factor structure when used with an adolescent population. Using data from 578 late adolescents who participated in the 4-H Study of Positive Youth Development (70.80% female), we showed that the two versions of the measure produced a similar factor structure and were similar in terms of reliability and validity, although the traditional forced-choice version provided data with slightly lower criterion validity. We therefore conclude that both types of the measure are acceptable, but the choice of measure may depend on the sample in question and the analytical approach planned for the findings. We discuss the implications of our findings for future research.