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Method Effects Associated with Reversed Items in the 29 Items Spanish Version of Ryff’s Well-Being Scales

Author(s): Irene Checa, Begoña Espejo


Although they have been frequently used in the literature, there has been much confusion concerning Ryff’s Well-being Scales, such as their factor structure and the effects of method due to the use of reversed items. A common practice nowadays is the use of positively worded items and reversed forms, in order to reduce response bias. However, in many different studies have been seen that this practice introduce method effects in the scores, leading to problems of reliability and validity. This work had two goals: first, to verify the factor structure of the 29-item Spanish version of the original Ryff’s Well-being Scale in an athlete population, and second, to determine whether the method factor associated with the reversed items shown in previous works appears too in a specific sample like athletes. If that happened, the use of this scale would be questionable.


For this purpose, a sample of 402 competition athletes, both professional and nonprofessional, was used. All the confirmatory factor models found in the literature were tested, using confirmatory factor analysis estimated by means of maximum likelihood with robust corrections.


The best fits were the substantive models of 5 and 6 factors with one factor associated with negative worded items. The results suggest the unsuitability of the 29-item version, suggesting the use of the 54-item scale and avoiding the use of the reversed items to prevent the effect of method.


If this scale is used to measure well-being, we will obtain a measure without validity because, in addition to well-being, we would be introducing into the scores something else that comes from the method effect introduced by the use of reversed items. The use of this scale is not recommended to obtain measures of psychological well-being.

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