A Psychometric Evaluation of the Big Five Inventory (BFI) in an Eastern Africa Population


  • Harrun H. Garrashi Orcid
  • Dick P. H. Barelds
  • Boele De Raad


The Big Five factor model is one of the most frequently used models in modern personality psychology. It captures personality in terms of five broad dimensions, namely Extraversion, Agreeableness, Conscientiousness, Emotional Stability/Neuroticism, and Intellect/Openness to experience, discovered through a series of psycho-lexical studies. We translated the Big Five Inventory (BFI), a metric developed to operationalize the Big Five personality structure, into the Swahili language and evaluated the psychometric properties of both the newly developed Swahili version and the original English version in a sample of 200 university students (114 women; 86 men; average age: 20.16) in Kenya. Principal Component Analysis with varimax rotation of the five factors was conducted for both raw and ipsatized scores, for both language versions of the BFI. Only two factors were fully replicated, Conscientiousness and Neuroticism. Conscientiousness factor was fully replicated using ipsatized scores of the English BFI, while Neuroticism was replicated with both the raw and ipsatized scores of the English BFI. The Swahili version of the BFI failed to unambiguously replicate any of the five factors with neither the raw nor the ipsatized scores. Results also showed poor-to-moderate scale reliabilities of both the English and the Swahili versions of the BFI.