NovoPsych Five Factor Personality Scale – 30 item version (NFFPS-30)

The NovoPsych Five Factor Personality Scale – 30 (NFFPS-30; Buchanan & Hegarty, 2023) is a 30-item self-report personality inventory measuring the well established five factor model of personality (a.k.a OCEAN). It is for use by older adolescents (ages 16+) and adults, where personality characteristics are compared to age and gender norms for the following factors:

  • Openness – The degree to which an individual is creative and imaginative or conventional and grounded. Made up of imagination, artistic interests, emotionality, adventurousness, intellect, and liberalism facets.
  • Conscientiousness – The measurement of an individual’s ability to control their impulses. Made up of self-efficacy, orderliness, dutifulness, achievement striving, self-discipline, and cautiousness facets.
  • Extraversion – The extent to which someone is out-going and enjoys interacting with the external world. Made up of friendliness, gregariousness, assertiveness, activity level, excitement seeking, and cheerfulness facets.
  • Agreeableness – The measure of social harmony, non-confrontation & cooperation that an individual may pursue. Made up of trust, morality, altruism, cooperation, modesty, and sympathy facets.
  • Neuroticism – The amount of negative feelings/emotions an individual may feel. Made up of anxiety, anger, depression, self-consciousness, immoderation, and vulnerability facets.

The scale can be useful in understanding broad traits of clients, students, patients and colleagues, in mental health settings or in non-clinical environments. The results can be provided directly to the respondent and can help provide feedback and self-exploration or be an aid in clinical formulations.

Personality traits are important for many life outcomes, and have demonstrated predictive validity in subjective outcomes such as relationships and well-being (Roberts et al., 2007). Traits also relate to a variety of objective life-outcomes, such as annual income and educational attainment in nation-wide samples (e.g., Kajonius & Carlander, 2017). Personality traits furthermore seem to be growing in importance with the contexts of individualism in modern society (Skirbekk & Blekesaune, 2014) and personality traits are fairly stable and develop predictably throughout life (Briley & Tucker-Drob, 2014).

Personality is most frequently measured with the five factor model (FFM; McCrae, 2010). This represents regularities of thoughts, feelings, and behaviours in individuals expressed in five broad trait factors: : (1) Openness, (2) Conscientiousness, (3) Extraversion, (4) Agreeableness, and (5) Neuroticism. These traits are often known by the acronym, OCEAN.

A spotlight on FFM in clinical settings has been of particular focus since the use of personality traits in the DSM-5 (American Psychiatric Association, 2013; Strus, Cieciuch, & Rowiński, 2014). Many psychologists today agree that the FFM framework can be used as a foundation for integrating common and abnormal personality traits (Markon, Krueger, & Watson, 2005).

Organising personality into five trait factors is often too general for certain purposes. Therefore, the NFFPS-30 separates each of the five factors into six underlying and more specific personality facets. Facets enable higher precision of analysis (see Ziegler & Bäckström, 2016) and describe dispositions towards certain behaviours, affects, and cognitions within each factor domain (see Zillig, Hemenover, & Dienstbier, 2002).

For example, a broad personality descriptor like Extraversion could indicate that the person is sociable, happy, energetic, or dominant, or all of these. In other words, the scope and meaning of the term Extraversion does not have a high level of specificity. Another example of a multifaceted definitions is Openness. There are several specific lower order facet traits which could be more informative, such as Adventurousness in predicting tendency to travel, or Intellect in predicting choice of education.

Psychometric Properties

The NFFPS-30 is a shortened version of the IPIP-NEO-120. The IPIP-NEO-120 is a product of the International Personality Item Pool collaboration project (IPIP; Goldberg et al., 2006) and is a publicly available representation of the five factor measurement model (Johnson, 2014), drawing 120 items from the International Personality Item Pool (IPIP; Goldberg et al., 2006). 

The NFFPS-30 was created to optimise length whilst still correlating strongly with the IPIP-NEO-120 in five factor model (FFM) measurement. To shorten the IPIP-NEO-120, NovoPsych performed a CFA using Johnson’s IPIP-NEO data repository (Johnson, 2020). The fit statistics for the CFA are presented on the NovoPsych website (see here). As a result of the CFA, the item that loaded highest onto each facet was kept, with one item per facet and still keeping the same six facets per factor structure as the IPIP-NEO-120. The correlations between NFFPS-30 and IPIP-NEO-120 factors (and their corresponding facets) were as follows:

  • Openness to Experience: r = 0.86 (with facets ranging from 0.78 – 0.82)
  • Conscientiousness: r = 0.93 (with facets ranging from 0.77 – 0.87)
  • Extraversion: r = 0.90 (with facets ranging from 0.76 – 0.87)
  • Agreeableness: r = 0.89 (with facets ranging from 0.73 – 0.86)
  • Neuroticism: r = 0.93 (with facets ranging from 0.75 – 0.88)

Normative data was gathered from Johnson’s IPIP-NEO data repository (Johnson, 2020) to enable the calculation of percentiles. This data was analysed by NovoPsych to determine appropriate norms using Australian respondents. Initial data from the repository (N = 619,150) was first filtered for some data errors where responses were 0 for some questions (given questions responses need to be 1 to 5) and if any rows contained a 0 in a response, the whole row was removed (resultant n = 410,376). The age of clients was then used to remove data for clients who were below the age of 16 (resultant n = 385,902) and then data was filtered to only include data where the respondent was in Australia (resultant n = 14,163). These respondents were made up of 5,252 males (between the age of 16 – 95) and 8,911 females (between the age of 16 – 88). Given that the respondent age was skewed positively, with a mean age of 26.9, the data was categorised into age groups to allow approximately equal sized groups (n ~ 2,000) for comparison. The resultant age groups were 16-17 year old (n = 2,509), 18-19 year olds (n = 2,279), 20-21 year olds (n = 1,624), 22-25 year olds (n = 1,742), 26-30 year olds (n = 2,032), 31-39 year olds (n = 2,128), and 40 year olds plus (n = 1,849). Percentiles for each factor and facet, based upon gender and age, were then created in the R statistical program (Version 4.2.0; R Core Team, 2022) using the cNORM package (Version 3.0.2; Lenhard & Lenhard, 2021). This method of norming estimates percentiles on the basis of the raw data without requiring assumptions about the distribution of the raw data. This method minimises bias arising from sampling and measurement error, while handling marked deviations from normality, addressing bottom or ceiling effects and capturing almost all of the variance in the original norm data sample (Lenhard & Lenhard, 2021).

Scoring and Interpretation 

The NFFPS-30 assesses an individual’s personality across five major factors, which are further divided into facets:

  1. Openness to Experience: Measures receptiveness to new ideas, imagination, and intellectual curiosity.
    • Imagination: Assesses the inclination to engage in vivid imagination and daydreaming (Item 13).
    • Artistic Interests: Reflects the appreciation for art, beauty, and aesthetic experiences (Item 25).
    • Emotionality: Measures the openness and expression of emotions and emotional experiences (Item 26).
    • Adventurousness: Assesses the willingness to try new experiences and tolerance for change (Item 17).
    • Intellect: Reflects the openness to new ideas, intellectual curiosity, and interest in abstract thinking (Item 29).
    • Liberalism: The importance placed on ethical, philosophical, and moral principles as determined by political persuasion (Item 22).
  2. Conscientiousness: Reflects how organised, responsible, and goal-oriented a person is.
    • Self-Efficacy: Reflects the belief in one’s own capabilities to successfully accomplish tasks and goals (Item 24).
    • Orderliness: Measures the preference for structure, organisation, and tidiness in one’s environment (Item 15).
    • Dutifulness: Reflects the sense of responsibility, duty, and obligation towards fulfilling tasks and commitments (Item 27).
    • Achievement Striving: Assesses the drive for success, setting high personal standards, and working diligently towards goals (Item 18).
    • Self-Discipline: Reflects the ability to control impulses, maintain focus, and persevere in the face of challenges (Item 21).
    • Cautiousness: Measures the inclination to think carefully, consider alternatives, and approach decisions cautiously. This facet is not akin to risk aversion, but rather more in line with deliberate decision making (Item 8).
  3. Extraversion: Measures the extent to which a person is outgoing, energetic, and sociable.
    • Friendliness: Assesses the inclination to be warm, affable, and friendly towards others (Item 12).
    • Gregariousness: Reflects the enjoyment of being in social situations and seeking out the company of others (Item 3).
    • Assertiveness: Measures the tendency to express opinions, desires, and needs confidently and directly (Item 4).
    • Activity Level: Assesses the preference for being active, energetic, and engaged in physical and mental pursuits (Item 6).
    • Excitement Seeking: Reflects the inclination to seek out novel, thrilling, and stimulating experiences (Item 19).
    • Cheerfulness: Measures the tendency to experience positive emotions, joyfulness, and optimism (Item 30).
  4. Agreeableness: Assesses the level of compassion, cooperativeness, and kindness in an individual.
    • Trust: Reflects the tendency to believe in the sincerity and trustworthiness of others (Item 1).
    • Morality: Measures the importance placed on adhering to ethical principles concerning other people’s rights (Item 14).
    • Altruism: Assesses the extent to which a person is inclined to help and support others (Item 10).
    • Cooperation: Reflects the willingness to work harmoniously with others and avoid conflicts (Item 9).
    • Modesty: Measures the inclination to downplay one’s own achievements and avoid self-promotion (Item 20).
    • Sympathy: Assesses the ability to understand and feel compassion for others’ emotions and experiences (Item 7).
  5. Neuroticism: Evaluates emotional stability, anxiety levels, and sensitivity to stress.
    • Anxiety: Assesses the tendency to experience worry, unease, and nervousness (Item 23).
    • Anger: Reflects the proneness to experience feelings of anger, irritation, and hostility (Item 2).
    • Depression: Measures the tendency to experience sadness, low mood, and feelings of hopelessness (Item 16).
    • Self-Consciousness: Assesses the level of self-awareness and concern about how one is perceived by others (Item 5).
    • Immoderation: Reflects the inclination to engage in excessive or impulsive behaviour (Item 28).
    • Vulnerability: Measures the sensitivity to stress, emotional reactivity, and susceptibility to negative emotions (Item 11).

These factors and facets provide a comprehensive assessment of an individual’s personality traits and help practitioners gain insights into various aspects of an individual’s behaviour and preferences.

Percentiles are presented for each of the trait factors and facets, comparing the respondent’s scores to those of an age and gender related Australian sample (NovoPsych’s analysis of Johnson 2020 data). A percentile of 50 represents typical patterns of responding compared to peers. Descriptors for each factor and facet are also presented where it is considered High if the score is in the top 30% compares to peers, Low if in the bottom 30% or Average if in the middle 40% (i.e., High if the percentile is 70 or above, Low if the percentile is 30 or below, or Average if the percentile is between 30 and 70). Percentiles are based upon gender and age, which was categorised into the seven age groups.

On a facet level, percentiles may be presented with > or < symbols. This indicates that the top (>) or bottom (<) percentile rank has been reached due to ceiling or floor effects for that facet. Given that facets are derived from single items, caution is recommended when interpreting facet scores.

In the narrative report, ‘pattern types’ may also be presented (if there are high and low scores on personality factors). These ‘pattern types’ are based on the Abridged Big Five-Dimensional Circumplex (AB5C; Hofstee, de Raad, & Goldberg, 1992) model of personality. These descriptions are based upon those provided by Johnson (n.d.).



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