Psychologists often obtain ratings for target individuals from multiple informants such as parents or peers. In this article we propose a trifactor model for multiple informant data that separates target-level variability from informant-level variability and item-level variability. By leveraging item-level data, the trifactor model allows for examination of a single trait rated on a single target. In contrast to many psychometric models developed for multitrait-multimethod data, the trifactor model is predominantly a measurement model. It is used to evaluate item quality in scale development, test hypotheses about sources of target variability (e.g., sources of trait differences) versus informant variability (e.g., sources of rater bias), and generate integrative scores that are purged of the subjective biases of single informants.

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Keywords Factor analysis, Informants, Observers, Raters, Sources
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Journal Psychological Methods
Bauer, D.J. (Daniel J.), Howard, A, Baldasaro, R.E. (Ruth E.), Curran, P.J. (Patrick J.), Hussong, A.M. (Andrea M.), Chassin, L. (Laurie), & Zucker, R.A. (Robert A.). (2013). A trifactor model for integrating ratings across multiple informants. Psychological Methods, 18(4), 475–493. doi:10.1037/a0032475