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JOURNAL OF PERSONALITY ASSESSMENT, 89(2), 162–166

Copyright 
C 2007, Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Inc.

The Inventory of Children’s Individual Differences:


Development and Validation of a Short Version
James E. Deal
Department of Child Development and Family Science
North Dakota State University

Charles F. Halverson, Jr.


Department of Child and Family Development
University of Georgia

Roy P. Martin
Department of Educational Psychology
University of Georgia

James Victor and Spencer Baker


Department of Education
Hampton University

As more researchers utilize the Five-factor model (FFM) of personality with children and
adolescents, the need for instruments designed specifically for use with children and adolescents
increases. In the United States, the 108-item Inventory of Children’s Individual Differences
(ICID; Halverson et al., 2003), has provided researchers with an age and culture neutral
instrument designed specifically to assess the FFM of personality in children and adolescents,
ages 2 to 15, using parental, nonparental, or self-reports. This article presents a shorter, 50-item
version of the ICID (the ICID-S) that maintains the levels of validity and reliability previously
established for the full instrument.

In the adult literature on personality there is an emerging ing whose robustness is enhanced by the fact that many of
consensus regarding the main dimensions of personality, i.e., the instruments used were not originally designed to mea-
the Five-factor model (FFM). While not without its detrac- sure the FFM (e.g., Block, 1961; Goldberg, 2001) or were
tors, this consensus has had many beneficial effects and has measures of adult personality used with samples of chil-
led to advances in personality research by providing struc- dren (McCrae, Costa, Terracciano, Parker, Mills, De Fruyt,
ture, clarity, and direction to diverse research programs. It & Mervielde, 2002). A variety of European researchers has
also has allowed for a “target” for research in the develop- developed instruments specifically designed to measure the
ment of individual differences. FFM in children, all with reasonable levels of success (e.g.,
While the literature on childhood personality has in the the Belgian HiPic [Mervielde & De Fruyt, 1999], the Dutch
past lacked such a consensus, it is becoming more and more BLIK [Slotboom & Elphick, 1997], the Italian BFQ-C [Bar-
apparent that the FFM lexicon can be used successfully with baranelli, Caprara, Rabasca, & Pastorelli, 2003]). In the
children as young as 2 years (e.g., Kohnstamm, Halverson, United States, the Inventory of Children’s Individual Dif-
Mervielde, & Havill, 1998). Use of this framework offers ferences (ICID; Halverson et al., 2003), has provided re-
the same potential benefits to the study of children that it searchers with an age and culture neutral instrument designed
has brought to the study of adults. A variety of studies has specifically to assess the FFM of personality in children and
found a five factor structure to emerge from both parental adolescents, ages 2 to 15 using parental, nonparental, or
and nonparental ratings of children and adolescents, a find- selfreports.
THE INVENTORY OF CHILDREN’S INDIVIDUAL DIFFERENCES 163

DEVELOPMENT OF THE ICID raters having completed high school, 37% having completed
college or technical school, and 13.6% having completed an
As previously documented (Halverson et al., 2003), the ICID advanced degree.
was developed by investigators in seven countries who col-
lected parental free-language descriptions of children from Instruments
more than 3,000 parents. These descriptions subsequently
were coded using an intuitive, rational coding system (for The instrument package was described by Halverson and
details see Havill, Allen, Halverson, & Kohnstamm, 1994). colleagues (2003). Parents completed the original 144-item
Items from the U.S., Chinese, Dutch, and Greek samples form of the ICID; all analyses in this report use the final 108-
then were subjected to an exhaustive translation and back- item ICID extracted from it. Parents also rated their child
translation procedure that initially resulted in a 144-item on the Temperament Assessment Battery (TAB-R, Martin
questionnaire containing items that matched the distribution & Bridger, 1999), specifically the Inhibition and Impulsiv-
of the FFM phrases in the parental lexicon. This version ity subscales; on measures of Attention Focusing, Inhibitory
was further refined, resulting in a 108-item Likert-scale in- Control, Perceptual Sensitivity, Smiling and Laughter, and
strument from which 15 robust midlevel scales then suc- Low Intensity Pleasure, as assessed by the Children’s Behav-
cessfully were factored into the FFM: Neuroticism (Fear- ior Questionnaire (CBQ; Rothbart, Ahadi, Hershey, & Fisher,
ful, Negative Affect, Distractible), Extraversion (Sociability, 2001); and on measures of Conduct Problems, Personality
Shy, Activity Level, Positive Emotions), Openness (Intellect, Problems, and Total Behavior Problems from the Behavior
Openness), Agreeableness (Considerate, Compliant, Positive Problem Checklist (BPC: Quay, 1987). These scales initially
Emotions, Antagonism, Strong Willed, Negative Affect), and were used to establish the convergent and discriminant va-
Conscientiousness (Organized, Achievement Oriented, Dis- lidity of the ICID. We use them here to establish congruence
tractible, Compliant, Intellect). between the longform and the shortform of the ICID.
The ICID has been used successfully in examinations
of self-concept and school performance (Baker, 2001; RESULTS
Demetriou & Kazi, 2001), social and behavioral ratings in
preschool (Havill, White, & Halverson, 2000), and resiliency Initial Selection of Items
in late childhood (Davey, Eaker, & Walters, 2002). It also has
been used successfully as a self-report instrument for adoles- Our goal was to develop three-item versions of each ICID
cents both in the United States and in Greece (Davey et al., subscale, giving a total item count of 45. Because three items
2002; Deal, Halverson, Havill, & Martin, 2005; Demetriou might not provide adequate reliability and validity for all
& Kazi, 2001). subscales, we started with five-item subscales, reducing them
At 108 items, however, the ICID is a lengthy instrument. to four and then three while checking for loss of reliability
A shorter version would enable researchers to utilize the in- and covariance with the original subscales. This gave us the
strument in more settings. Our purpose is to present a shorter option of allowing some subscales to have four or five items,
version of the ICID (the ICID-S) that maintains the levels while still striving for three for the majority of subscales.
of validity and reliability previously established for the full The first step was to draw a random sample (n = 452)
instrument. of half the respondents. Initial analyses were conducted on
this sample, then confirmed on second half of the full sample
METHOD (n = 451). Initial items were those with the top five loadings
from the first principal component of each ICID subscale.
Participants Alpha reliabilities were calculated, as were the correlations
between the five-item subscales and the full subscales. Initial
Data analyzed here are from Halverson and colleagues results were good, with alphas ranging from .74 to 1.00 and
(2003), specifically the American subsample from which the correlations ranging from .91 to 1.00. Next, using the alphas
108-item version was extracted. Descriptions of 903 chil- computed in the initial step we deleted the item that would
dren were collected from parents (mothers and fathers) as retain the highest alpha among the remaining four items. The
part of the larger project. Of the children described, 47.2% alpha and full-item correlations were recalculated. Results
were male, with 52.8% female. Regarding ethnicity, 34.2% were again good, with alphas for the four-item scales rang-
were Caucasian, with 60.6% African American; the remain- ing from .72 to .93 and correlations with the full-item scales
ing children were multiracial (2.3%), AsianPacific Islander ranging from .87 to .97. The same procedure was followed
(1.0%), Hispanic (.6%), and Native American (.4%), with to select items for the three-item scales, resulting in alphas
0.6% simply reporting “other.” Ages ranged from 35 months from .67 to .82 (only two scales had alphas below .72: Fearful
to 169 months (14 years). The person describing the child was and Shy) and correlations from .84 to .95 (only four scales
the mother in 65.3% of cases, and the father in 28.5%; other had correlations below .90: Openness, Organized, Sociable,
reporters included aunts, grandparents, godparents, and step- and Strong-Willed). For the six subscales in which the three-
parents. The sample was mostly middleclass, with 46% of the item scales had alphas or correlations that were too low, the
164 DEAL ET AL.

TABLE 1
Descriptive Statistics, Reliability, and Validity Coefficients for the ICID-S

Full Sample Alpha Coefficients Correlation with Long Form


M SD A B C A B C

Achievement Oriented 14.19 3.03 .78 .72 .75 .92 .91 .92
Activity Level 15.67 3.26 .81 .79 .80 .93 .94 .93
Antagonism 8.51 3.37 .75 .73 .74 .91 .90 .91
Compliant 13.80 2.94 .79 .71 .74 .92 .92 .92
Considerate 15.09 3.09 .80 .86 .84 .92 .92 .92
Distractible 10.33 3.45 .76 .72 .74 .91 .93 .92
Fearful/Insecure∗ 12.17 4.28 .70 .72 .71 .92 .91 .91
Intellect 15.81 3.28 .85 .80 .83 .92 .94 .93
Negative Affect 10.30 3.63 .78 .79 .78 .93 .91 .92
Openness∗ 21.12 3.87 .81 .75 .78 .93 .90 .92
Organized∗ 8.63 3.96 .74 .78 .76 .94 .94 .94
Positive Emotions 17.29 3.05 .87 .82 .85 .91 .90 .91
Shy∗ 11.99 4.12 .74 .67 .70 .94 .95 .95
Sociable∗ 20.59 4.04 .79 .83 .81 .94 .95 .95
Strong-Willed∗ 15.93 4.44 .73 .76 .75 .85 .88 .89

Note. A = First half of sample (n = 452); B = Second half of sample (n = 451); C = Total sample (N = 903); ∗ denotes four-item scales; all
others are three-item scales.

four-item scales were used instead. Finally, the average in- facet scores from the ICID were correlated with measures
teritem correlation ranged from .38 to .69, with only one of Inhibition and Impulsivity, as assessed by the TAB; with
subscale (Fearful) falling below the .40 to .50 range recom- measures of Attention Focusing, Inhibitory Control, Percep-
mended by Clark and Watson (1995). tual Sensitivity, Smiling and Laughter, and Low Intensity
Domain scores—Neuroticism, Extraversion, Openness, Pleasure, as assessed by the CBQ; and with measures of
Agreeableness, and Conscientiousness—then were calcu- Conduct Problems, Personality Problems, and Total Behav-
lated, with correlations between the full-item scores and the ior Problems, as assessed by the BPC.
reduced item scores averaging .96 (range = .95 to .97). At To determine the degree of congruence between (a)
the domain level as at well as at the facet level, then, the relations between outcome measures and the long-form
reduced item scales seemed to be measuring the same con- ICID, and (b) relations between outcome measures and
structs as the full scales. For the final 15 reduced subscales the short-form ICID, we first replicated the correlations
Table 1 provides alpha reliabilities and correlations with the presented by Halverson and colleagues (Table 6, 2003) using
full-item scales. The items and their associated scale are the short-form ICID and the total sample; this replication is
listed in the Appendix. presented here in Table 2. The sample size for this replication
The alpha and correlational analyses for the facet sub- ranges from 348 to 364, as not all children in the original
scales were repeated in the second subsample, and results study completed all outcome measures. We then turned each
were essentially the same as for the first half (see Table set of correlations—one from the full-item scales, one from
1). Domain scores—Neuroticism, Extraversion, Openness, the short-form scales—into a column vector, and computed
Agreeableness, and Conscientiousness—were again calcu- a correlation between the two vectors. This correlation was
lated, and correlations with the full-item domain scores av- .92 (p < .001), indicating a high degree of correspondence
eraged .96 (range = .95 to .97). As with the first half of the between results obtained with the two different ICID forms.
sample, the reduced item scales seemed to be measuring the In addition, the mean difference between the two vectors
same constructs as the full item scales at both the scale and was .006, further indicating the high degree of similarity
domain levels. Finally, the two subsamples were combined, between the two.
and descriptive statistics, alphas, and correlations were com-
puted on the full sample. Results were essentially the same
as those for the two halves. SUMMARY

Relations of ICID-R Subscales to Other The ICID has shown the potential to aid researchers investi-
Measures gating childhood personality across a variety of substantive
areas. The ICID-S, retaining the same levels of reliability and
In order to establish convergent and discriminant validity of validity as the original ICID, offers the same potential in a
the full ICID, Halverson and colleagues (2003) assessed the shorter instrument that should facilitate wider and easier use.
relation of the ICID facets and domains to measures of tem- A briefer instrument minimizes the time required to com-
perament and behavior problems. Specifically, domain and plete it, making it much more feasible to use with teachers,
THE INVENTORY OF CHILDREN’S INDIVIDUAL DIFFERENCES 165

TABLE 2
Correlations of ICID-S Subscales With Outcome Measures

TAB TAB CBQ CBQ CBQ CBQ CBQ BP BP BP


IN IM AF IC PS S&L LIP CD PP TOT

Subscales
Positive Emotions –.22 –.42 .26 .34 .30 .36 .36 –.27 –.19 –.26
Sociability –.66 –.17 .06 .15 .25 .48 .18 .07 –.30 –.13
Considerate –.12 –.45 .37 .49 .35 .27 .40 –.36 –.13 –.29
Activity Level –.34 .09 –.01 –.05 .11 .33 .05 .19 –.17 –.03
Openness –.27 –.27 .24 .19 .34 .38 .33 –.04 –.21 –.17
Antagonism .13 .58 –.39 –.54 –.23 –.28 –.35 .47 .18 .36
Strong-Willed .00 .50 –.24 –.39 –.08 –.07 –.19 .48 .15 .31
Organized –.02 –.44 .49 .49 .31 .19 .37 –.38 –.14 –.30
Achievement-Oriented –.07 –.50 .56 .56 .44 .26 .41 –.35 –.13 –.29
Distractible .09 .57 –.55 –.46 –.30 –.17 –.31 .34 .26 .34
Fearful/Insecure .55 .35 –.18 –.18 –.17 –.41 –.18 .03 .35 .20
Negative Affect .15 .59 –.31 –.44 –.13 –.17 –.26 .47 .20 .35
Shy .68 .32 –.15 –.22 –.20 –.45 –.16 .01 .39 .22
Domains
Neuroticism .40 .70 –.44 –.54 –.29 –.38 –.35 .43 .39 .44
Extraversion –.57 –.20 .14 .18 .33 .53 .28 .08 –.31 –.15
Openness –.23 –.47 .51 .45 .49 .41 .50 –.22 –.24 –.29
Agreeableness –.16 –.67 .42 .57 .28 .30 .40 –.54 –.22 –.42
Conscientiousness –.06 –.60 .64 .60 .42 .24 .43 –.43 –.21 –.39

Note. N = 348 to 364; r’s above .09 significant at .05 or higher; TAB = Temperament Assessment Battery; CBQ = Child Behavior Questionnaire; BP =
Quay–Peterson Behavior Problem Checklist; IN = Inhibition; IM = Impulsivity; AF = Attention Focusing; IC = Inhibitory Control; LIP = Low Intensity
Pleasure; PS = Perceptual Sensitivity; S&L = Smiling & Laughter; CD = Conduct Problems; PP = Personality Problems; TOT = Behavior Problems Total
score.

who could reasonably be asked to rate multiple children, and Davey, M., Eaker, D., & Walters, L. (2002). Resilience processes in adoles-
school-aged children. cence: Personality profiles, self-worth, and coping. Journal of Adolescent
It should be noted, however, that the ICID-S was validated Research, 18, 347–362.
Deal, J. E., Halverson, C. F., Havill, V., & Martin, R. (2005). Tempera-
using the same sample as the original ICID, a sample that is ment factors as longitudinal predictors of young adult personality. Merrill
not fully representative of the U.S. population. Replication of Palmer Quarterly, 51, 315–334.
these results with a new, more representative sample would Demetriou, A., & Kazi, S. (2001). Unity and modularity in the mind and
lend further empirical support to the ICID-S. the self: Studies on the relationships between self-awareness, personality
and intellectual development from childhood to adolescence. London:
Routledge.
Goldberg, L. (2001). Analyses of Digman’s child-personality data: Deriva-
ACKNOWLEDGMENTS tion of big-five factor scores from each of six samples. Journal of Per-
sonality, 69, 709–743.
Halverson, C. F., Havill, V., Deal, J. E., Baker, S., Victor, J., Pavlopoulos,
Data collection in this project was supported by grant V. (2003). Personality structure as derived from parental ratings of free
MH50302 from the National Institute of Mental Health to descriptions of children: The Inventory of Child Individual Differences.
Charles F. Halverson, Jr., and Roy P. Martin. Journal of Personality, 71, 995–1026.
Havill, V. L., Allen, K., Halverson, C. F., & Kohnstamm, G. A. (1994).
Parents use of Big Five categories in their natural language descriptions
of children. In C. F. Halverson, G. A. Kohnstamm, & R. P. Martin (Eds.),
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APPENDIX
ICID-S Scales, Item Numbers, and Items

Achievement Orientation Negative Affect


1. self-disciplined 9. irritable
16. a hard worker 23. quick-tempered
30. a drive to do better 38. gets angry easily
Activity Level Openness to Experience
2. energetic 10. a lot of imagination
17. always on the move 24. interested in new things
31. active physically 39. curious
Antagonism 46. likes to ask questions
3. mean Organized
18. rude 11. disorganized (Reverse Scored)
32. disobedient 25. organized
Compliance 40. keeps things neat and tidy
4. obedient 47. does things carefully and with thought
1. self-disciplined Positive Emotions
33. dependable and trustworthy 12. a joy to be with
Considerate 26. sweet
5. thoughtful of others 41. loving
19. considerate Shy
34. sensitive to others’ feelings 13. withdrawn
Distractible 27. slow to warm up to new people or
6. a short attention span situations
20. easily distracted 42. difficulty making friends
35. forgets things easily 48. difficulty adjusting to new situations
Fearful/Insecure Sociable
7. insecure 14. sociable
21. fearful 28. outgoing
36. afraid of a lot of things 43. loves to be with other people
45. lacks confidence 49. makes friends easily
Intelligent Strong-Willed
8. quick to learn 15. stubborn
22. a good memory 29. hard-headed
37. good thinking abilities 44. wants things his/her own way
50. manipulates to get his/her own way

Note. All items are proceeded by “My/This child is . . . ” Questionnaire format is avail-
able from the first author.

James E. Deal
Department of Child Development and Family Science
North Dakota State University
Fargo, ND 58105
Email: Jim.Deal@ndsu.edu

Received July 21, 2006


Revised November 7, 2006