Problems with single interest scales: Implications of the general factor

Terence Tracey

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

32 Scopus citations


The presence of the general factor in interest and self-efficacy assessment and its meaning are reviewed. The general factor is found in all interest and self-efficacy assessment and has been viewed as (a) a nuisance factor with little effect on assessment, (b) a variable having substantive meaning and thus worthy of including in interpretation, and (c) as systematic bias that distorts the interpretation of the meaning of assessments. The premise of this article is that each interpretation is correct but only depending upon the context of the assessment. The main implication is that narrow single content interest scales are very subject to contaminating effects of the general factor making interpretation very difficult. Methods of correcting this contamination are presented.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)378-384
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Vocational Behavior
Issue number3
StatePublished - Dec 1 2012


  • Bias
  • General factor
  • Interest assessment

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Applied Psychology
  • Organizational Behavior and Human Resource Management
  • Life-span and Life-course Studies


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