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Title:A pscyhometric investigation of the comprehensive assessment of sadistic tendencies (cast): Evidence from factor analysis and item response theory
Author(s):Amrhein, Rachel Lynn
Advisor(s):Newman, Daniel A.
Department / Program:Psychology
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Sadistic tendencies
Dark Tetrad
Dark Personality
Measurement Equivalence
Measurement Invariance
Item Response Theory
Abstract:Sadism research has grown exponentially in recent years, establishing the trait as a key predictor of cruel behaviors (bullying, aggression, internet trolling). However, empirical validations of the most popular sadism measure are needed. To address this, we administered the comprehensive assessment of sadistic tendencies (CAST; Buckels & Paulhus, 2014) to 432 undergraduates to investigate the factor structure, item response theory item characteristics (Samejima graded response model and generalized graded unfolding model parameters), underlying response processes (dominance versus ideal point), and measurement invariance across gender using factor analytic methods. Factor analysis results validated the three-factor structure of sadism (physical, verbal, and vicarious), whereas item response theory models demonstrated that a dominance response process fit better than an ideal point response process. We observed that the CAST provides the most information in the high trait range (distinguishing moderately sadistic participants from those who were high in sadism). Results also indicate weak discriminant validity between the CAST and measures of Machiavellianism and Psychopathy. Data further support past research suggesting males are more sadistic than females across all CAST subscales. Further analyses of scalar measurement invariance across gender suggest a true gender gap in the underlying trait, rather than measurement bias. This study begins to answer how to best assess sadism by examining the construct’s most popular measure, while highlighting a number of weaknesses to be addressed in future scholarship.
Issue Date:2018-04-27
Rights Information:Copyright 2018 Rachel Amrhein
Date Available in IDEALS:2018-09-04
Date Deposited:2018-05

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