Skip to main content
Log in

Reinforcement Sensitivity Theory of Personality Questionnaire: Measurement and Structural Invariance Across Age and Gender Groups

  • Original Article
  • Published:
International Journal of Mental Health and Addiction Aims and scope Submit manuscript


Revised reinforcement sensitivity theory (r-RST) of personality is a major neuropsychological theory of motivation, emotion, and personality. To measure the specific components of r-RST, the Reinforcement Sensitivity Theory of Personality Questionnaire (RST-PQ; Corr & Cooper(Psychological Assessment 28(11), 1427–1400, 2016) has been developed. The current study examined the measurement (configural, metric, scalar, and residual) and structural (factor variances, covariances) invariance across gender and age groups for an exploratory structural equation modeling (ESEM) version of the theorized six-factor oblique model. A total of 901 adults (M = 32.07, SD = 16.38) from the general community completed ratings of the RST-PQ. Multiple-group confirmatory factor analysis (CFA) supported full measurement and structural invariance. There was also no difference for the six latent mean scores across gender and age. The psychometric and practical implications of the findings are discussed.

This is a preview of subscription content, log in via an institution to check access.

Access this article

Price excludes VAT (USA)
Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout.

Instant access to the full article PDF.

Similar content being viewed by others


  • Addis, M. E., Mansfield, A. K., & Syzdek, M. R. (2010). Is “masculinity” a problem?: Framing the effects of gendered social learning in men. Psychology of Men & Masculinity, 11(2), 77.

  • Arnett, J. J. (2004). Emerging adulthood: the winding road from late teens through the twenties. Oxford University Press.

  • Asparouhov, T., & Muthén, B. (2009). Exploratory structural equation modeling. Structural Equation Modeling: A Multidisciplinary Journal, 16(3), 397–438.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Bacon, A. M., Corr, P. J., & Satchell, L. P. (2018). A reinforcement sensitivity theory explanation of antisocial behaviour. Personality and Individual Differences, 123, 87–93.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Beaton, A. A., Mutinelli, S., & Corr, P. J. (2017). Fractionating negative and positive affectivity in handedness: insights from the reinforcement sensitivity theory of personality. Laterality, 22, 419–444.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Berger, J. L., Addis, M. E., Reilly, E. D., Syzdek, M. R., & Green, J. D. (2012). Effects of gender, diagnostic labels, and causal theories on willingness to report symptoms of depression. Journal of Social and Clinical Psychology, 31(5), 439–457.

  • Chen, F. F. (2007). Sensitivity of goodness of fit indexes to lack of measurement invariance. Structural Equation Modeling: A Multidisciplinary Journal, 14(3), 464–504.

  • Cheung, G. W., & Rensvold, R. B. (2002). Evaluating goodness-of-fit indexes for testing measurement invariance. Structural Equation Modeling: A Multidisciplinary Journal, 9(2), 233–255.

  • Corr, P. J. (2008). Reinforcement sensitivity theory (RST): Introduction.

  • Corr, P. J., & Cooper, A. J. (2016). The reinforcement sensitivity theory of Personality Questionnaire (RST-PQ): Development and validation. Psychological Assessment, 28(11), 1427–1400.

  • Corr, P. J., & McNaughton, N. (2012). Neuroscience and approach/avoidance personality traits: a two stage (valuation-motivation) approach. Neuroscience and Biobehavioral Reviews, 36(10), 2339–2354.

  • Dong, Y., & Dumas, D. (2020). Are personality measures valid for different populations? A systematic review of measurement invariance across cultures, gender, and age. Personality and Individual Differences, 160, 109956.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Eriksson, L. J. K., Jansson, B., & Sundin, Ö. Ö. (2019). Psychometric properties of a Swedish version of the reinforcement sensitivity theory of personality questionnaire. Nordic Psychology, 71(2), 134–145.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Gomez, R., Watson, S., Wynen, J. V., Trawley, S., Stavropoulos, V., & Corr, P. J. (2020). Reinforcement sensitivity theory of personality questionnaire: factor structure based on CFA and ESEM, and associations with ADHD. Journal of Personality Assessment, 103, 1–12.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Gray, J.A. and McNaughton, N. (2000) The neuropsychology of anxiety: an enquiry into the functions of the Septo-Hippocampal System. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

  • Hu, L. T., & Bentler, P. M. (1998). Fit indices in covariance structure modeling: sensitivity to underparameterized model misspecification. Psychological Methods, 3(4), 424–453.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Hu, L. T., & Bentler, P. M. (1999). Cutoff criteria for fit indexes in covariance structure analysis: conventional criteria versus new alternatives. Structural Equation Modeling: A Multidisciplinary Journal, 6(1), 1–55.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Jiang, Y., & Tiliopoulos, N. (2014). Individual differences in adult attachment and reinforcement sensitivity. Personality and Individual Differences, 68, 205–210.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Jöreskog, K. G. (1969). A general approach to confirmatory maximum likelihood factor analysis. Psychometrika, 34(2), 183–202.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Joreskog, K. G., & Goldberger, A. S. (1975). Estimation of a model with multiple indicators and multiple causes of a single latent variable. Journal of the American Statistical Association, 70, 631–639.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Kruić, D., Corr, P. J., Ručević, S., Križanić, V., & Gračanin, A. (2016). Five reinforcement sensitivity theory (RST) of personality questionnaires: comparison, validity and generalization. Personality and Individual Differences, 97, 19–24.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Marsh, H. W. (2007). Application of confirmatory factor analysis and structural equation modeling in sport and exercise psychology. In G. Tenenbaum & R. C. Eklund (Eds.), Handbook of sport psychology (3rd ed., pp. 774-798). John Wiley & Sons Inc..

  • Marsh, H. W., Morin, A. J., Parker, P. D., & Kaur, G. (2014). Exploratory structural equation modeling: an integration of the best features of exploratory and confirmatory factor analysis. Annual Review of Clinical Psychology, 10, 85–110.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Marsh, H. W., Muthén, B., Asparouhov, T., Lüdtke, O., Robitzsch, A., Morin, A. J., & Trautwein, U. (2009). Exploratory structural equation modeling, integrating CFA and EFA: application to students ' evaluations of university teaching. Structural Equation Modeling: A Multidisciplinary Journal, 16(3), 439–476.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • McNaughton, N., & Corr, P. J. (2004). A two-dimensional neuropsychology of defense: fear/anxiety and defensive distance. Neuroscience & Biobehavioral Reviews, 28(3), 285–1305.

  • Meredith, W. (1993). Measurement invariance, factor analysis and factorial invariance. Psychometrika, 58, 525–543.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Morin, A. J. S., Marsh, H. W., & Nagengast, B. (2013). Exploratory structural equation modeling. In G. R. Hancock & R. O. Mueller (Eds.), Structural equation modeling: A second course (2nd ed., pp. 395-436). IAP Information Age Publishing.

  • Morizot, J., & Le Blanc, M. (2003). Continuity and change in personality traits from adolescence to midlife: A 25‐year longitudinal study comparing representative and adjudicated men. Journal of personality, 71(5), 705–755.

  • Muthén, L. K., & Muthén, B. O. (2012). Mplus User ' s Guide. Seventh Edition.

  • Myers, N. D., Ahn, S., & Jin, Y. (2011). Sample size and power estimates for a confirmatory factor analytic model in exercise and sport. Research Quarterly for Exercise and Sport, 82(), 412-423., 82, 412–423.

  • Pugnaghi, G., Cooper, A., Ettinger, U., & Corr, P. J. (2018). The psychometric properties of the German language reinforcement sensitivity theory-personality questionnaire (RST-PQ). Journal of Individual Differences, 39(3), 182–190.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Reise, S. P., Widaman, K. F., & Pugh, R. H. (1993). Confirmatory factor analysis and item response theory: two approaches for exploring measurement invariance. Psychological Bulletin, 114(3), 552–566.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Reise, S. P., Smith, L., & Furr, R. M. (2001). Invariance on the NEO PI-R neuroticism scale. Multivariate Behavioral Research, 36(1), 83–110.

  • Small, D. M., Gregory, M. D., Mak, Y. E., Gitelman, D., Mesulam, M. M., & Parrish, T. (2003). Dissociation of neural representation of intensity and affective valuation in human gustation. Neuron, 39(4), 701–711.

  • Steenkamp, J., & Baumgartner, H. (1998). Assessing measurement invariance in cross-national consumer research. Journal of Consumer Research, 25(1), 78–90.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Vandenberg, R. J., & Lance, C. E. (2000). A review and synthesis of the management invariance literature: suggestions, practices, and recommendations for organizational research. Organizational Research Methods, 3, 4–69.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Wood, W., & Eagly, A. H. (2012). Biosocial construction of sex differences and similarities in behavior. In Advances in experimental social psychology (Vol. 46, pp. 55–123). Academic Press.

  • Wytykowska, A., Fajkowska, M., Domaradzka, E., & Jankowski, K. S. (2017). Construct validity of the Polish version of the reinforcement sensitivity theory-personality questionnaire. Personality and Individual Differences, 109, 172–180.

    Article  Google Scholar 

Download references

Author information

Authors and Affiliations


Corresponding author

Correspondence to V. Stavropoulos.

Ethics declarations

Ethical Standards—Animal Rights

All procedures performed in the study involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards. This article does not contain any studies with animals performed by any of the authors.

Informed Consent

Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.

Confirmation Statement

Authors confirm that this paper has not been either previously published or submitted simultaneously for publication elsewhere.


Authors assign copyright or license the publication rights in the present article.

Conflict of Interest

The authors declare no competing interests.

Additional information

Publisher’s Note

Springer Nature remains neutral with regard to jurisdictional claims in published maps and institutional affiliations.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and permissions

About this article

Check for updates. Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Gomez, R., Stavropoulos, V., Watson, S. et al. Reinforcement Sensitivity Theory of Personality Questionnaire: Measurement and Structural Invariance Across Age and Gender Groups. Int J Ment Health Addiction 21, 131–144 (2023).

Download citation

  • Accepted:

  • Published:

  • Issue Date:

  • DOI: