Reversed-polarity items and scale unidimensionality

  • Joel Herche
  • Brian Engelland
Research Note

DOI: 10.1177/0092070396244007

Cite this article as:
Herche, J. & Engelland, B. JAMS (1996) 24: 366. doi:10.1177/0092070396244007


A standard procedure in the development of multi-item measurement scales is to incorporate reversed-polarity items to control for and/or identify acquiescence response bias. In spite of the broad acceptance of this approach, very little work has been done to evaluate the impact of reversed-polarity items on the dimensionality of scales. This study empirically evaluates the impact of reversed-polarity items on the unidimensionality of several well-known marketing measures. The authors suggest that use of reversed-polarity items may present a substantive problem for marketing scholars because of the resulting degradation of scale unidimensionality. The existence of this phenomenon is confirmed in a multisurvey, multiscale, binational research design. Implications for marketing scale developers and measurement theoreticians are discussed, theoretical bases that might explain the phenomenon are explored, and further research suggestions are presented.

Copyright information

© Academy of Marketing Science 1996

Authors and Affiliations

  • Joel Herche
    • 1
  • Brian Engelland
    • 2
  1. 1.the Eberhardt School of BusinessUniversity of the PacificUSA
  2. 2.the University of Evansville in Evansville

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