South and North: DIF Analyses of University-Student Responses to the Emotional Skills and Competence Questionnaire

Bo Molander, Stefan Holmström, Vladimir Takšić

Abstract


In a study of the Emotional Skills and Competence Questionnaire instrument (ESCQ; Takšić, 1998) three samples of university students from Balkan countries (Croatia, Serbia, and Slovenia) were contrasted with two samples of university students from Nordic countries (Finland and Sweden). In total, 1978 students participated. Effects of country and gender were obtained from the ESCQ total scores, as well as from the subscale scores. The subsequent analyses of item bias, that is, differential item functioning (DIF), revealed a number of DIF items in pair wise comparisons of the samples, thus creating doubts about the fairness in comparing mean scores. Further analyses of the DIF items showed, however, that most of the item curve functions were uniform, and that effect sizes were low. It was also shown that the number of DIF items depended on which countries were compared. Spearman correlations between measures of number of DIF items and cultural values as measured by World Value Survey data were very high. Implications of these findings for future cross-cultural studies of the ESCQ instrument are discussed.

Keywords


Emotional Skills and Competence Questionnaire (ESCQ); cross-cultural differences; DIF analyses; Balkan and Nordic countries; World Value Survey

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