Cross Cultural Evaluations of Self Concept Instruments

Strong tests of the cross-cultural generalizability of responses to self-concept instruments are possible when responses to the same instrument are collected in different cultures or countries. Critical design features are the translation of items from the original language into a different language and ensuring that the samples from different countries are appropriately comparable. When parallel data from multiple countries are available, Byrne (2003) described the application of multigroup CFA tests of factorial invariance that can be used to evaluate the cross-cultural generalizability of self-concept instruments. In an application of this approach, Marsh, Tomás-Marco, and Asci (2003) demonstrated the appropriateness of the Physical Self Description Questionnaire (PSDQ) for Spanish and Turkish students, as well as the Australian students for whom it was originally developed.

Extending this approach, Tomás-Marco, González-Romá, and Marsh (2003) expanded this multisample CFA approach to incorporate covari-ance and mean structure in a comparison of matched responses (in terms of gender and age) by Spanish and Australian high school students. With the inclusion of the mean structure, they showed how this approach was largely analogous to but, perhaps, more flexible than traditional item response theory approaches to this problem. The model of strict factor invariance—invariance of item factor loadings, intercepts, and uniquenesses— was supported. Because the PSDQ items did not show differential item functioning across the Spanish and Australian versions, the observed average scale scores and scale variances could be meaningfully compared across groups. A failure of this model, however, would have suggested that items had different meaning in each country and, perhaps, would have invalidated these inference-based comparisons based on latent factors or scale scores (also see discussion by Marsh & Grayson, 1994b, about invariance responses by the same group over time, rather than different groups).

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