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I'm currently working with a dataset with a sample size of 174 from a questionnaire that measures 6 types of personality traits with 5 response options per item (Strongly Agree, Agree, Neutral, Disagree, Strongly Disagree)

I've generated a polychoric correlation matrix to inspect each item and I need some assistance with the interpretation.

Specifically I'm looking at the correlation between two items: Item 1 reads "Compares their successes to other's" and another reads "questions things learned."

During my reliability analysis, R recommended that item 1 be reverse scored, so that's the scoring reflected in the polychoric matrix:

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Given the strong positive correlation between these two items, my question is, given the reverse scoring, could we interpret the correlation between items 1 and 3:

As people DO compare themselves to others (reverse scored), the more they feel like they are questioning things learned

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As people DON'T compare themselves to others, the more they feel like they are contributing. I'm just not sure on how to interpret the direction of the relationship in this case.

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Given that you recoded the item, the "original" (pre-recoding) correlation should have a negative sign, indicating a negative relationship. You can easily verify this by looking at a bivariate scatterplot with the original (unrecoded) variable.

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  • $\begingroup$ Yes you are correct. The original pre-coded item does indeed indicate a negative relationship. Would it be fair to say (if we're looking at the pre-coded item) to say that the less often people compare themselves to others, the more they question things (or vice versa)? $\endgroup$
    – Darko
    Jun 27, 2023 at 14:48
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    $\begingroup$ From your description of your original variables, that interpretation sounds correct to me. Good luck with your work! $\endgroup$ Jun 27, 2023 at 14:50

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