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What does the proposed purposefulness superfactor really describe?

Personality and Individual Differences
Publication Date
DOI: 10.1016/0191-8869(94)90067-1


Abstract Two studies evaluate the hypothesis that a fourth superfactor describing individual differences is best characterized as a ‘purposefulness’ factor and that this factor is related to a theory of deliberate action. Factors were derived from measures of depression and anxiety symptoms, dysfunctional cognitions, personality variables, and measures of purpose and alienation. Both studies result in 5 factor solutions, the first 4 of which relate to the neuroticism, extraversion, psychoticism, and lie scales of the Eysenck Personality Questionnaire. In both studies, the fifth factor is defined by the higher loadings of locus of control and alienation measures. This ‘purposelessness’ factor is correlated with the neuroticism factor. The results suggest that variance captured by factor 5 may be due to individual differences that arise from learning and, to the extent that other superfactors influence learning, to the first 3 superfactors (especially neuroticism). A second order factor analysis based on Study 2 data resulted in 2 higher order factors: the first factor was defined by the loadings of primary factor 1 (neuroticism) and primary factor 5 (purposelessness) and the second factor was defined by the loadings of primary factor 2 (psychoticism/constraint).

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