Journal of Business and Psychology

, Volume 22, Issue 3, pp 251–259 | Cite as

Middle Response Functioning in Likert-responses to Personality Items

  • John T. KulasEmail author
  • Alicia A. Stachowski
  • Brad A. Haynes


Two studies examined whether the middle response option in graphic rating scales indicates a moderate standing on a trait/item, or rather a “dumping ground” for unsure or non-applicable (N/A) responses. Study One identified middle response-option dysfunction. Study Two indicated that respondents use the middle response option as an N/A proxy, even under implicit ‘skip if you do not know’ instructional sets. Although middle response category ‘misuse’ did not adversely affect reliability and validity in these studies, it is recommended that assessment developers (especially in on-line administration contexts) regularly include an N/A response option when administering graphic rating scales.


Graphic rating Scale Likert-type Personality Assessment Rasch 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business, LCC 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • John T. Kulas
    • 1
    Email author
  • Alicia A. Stachowski
    • 2
  • Brad A. Haynes
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of PsychologySt. Cloud State UniversitySt. CloudUSA
  2. 2.George Mason UniversityFairfaxUSA
  3. 3.MeyeconAtlantaUSA

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