Assessing the validity of the achievement motive in the presence of random measurement error

David A. Reuman, Duane F. Alwin, Joseph Veroff

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


The presence of random measurement error in indicators of theoretical constructs biases observed estimates of relations among those constructs. Correcting for this bias is particularly important when random measurement error is substantial or is substantially different for indicators of distinct constructs included in a theoretical model. Validity assessment in the case of thematic apperceptive measures of the achievement motive (TAT n Achievement) has been vulnerable to interpretive errors because these indicators of the achievement motive are typically much less reliable than indicators of other constructs to which the motive may be related, and no correction has been made for the bias introduced by such differential measurement error. A causal modeling approach to validity assessment for TAT n Achievement is presented that incorporates explicit true-score measurement models of theoretical constructs. Data from J. Veroff et al (1981) on 413 adult US males confirm the hypothesis that the achievement motive construct is positively related to work satisfaction. Evidence for the discriminant validity of story content as opposed to story length, an issue raised in the literature on the TAT, is also presented in this nomological network. (56 ref) (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2006 APA, all rights reserved).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1347-1362
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Personality and Social Psychology
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 1984

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Social Psychology
  • Sociology and Political Science


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