Using an item-response theory-based approach (i.e. likelihood ratio test with an iterative procedure), we examined the equivalence of the Rosenberg Self-Esteem Scale (RSES) in a sample of US and Chinese college students. Results from the differential item functioning (DIF) analysis showed that the RSES was not fully equivalent at the item level, as well as at the scale level. The two cultural groups did not use the scale comparably, with the US students showing more extreme responses than the Chinese students. Moreover, we evaluated the practical impact of DIF and found that cultural differences in average self-esteem scores disappeared after the DIF was taken into account. In the present study, we discuss the implications of our findings for cross-cultural research and provide suggestions for future studies using the RSES in China.
- Differential item functioning
- Item-response theory
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Social Psychology
- Social Sciences(all)