What Is the 16 Personality Factors Questionnaire?

The 16 Personality Factors Questionnaire, or 16PF Questionnaire, is an assessment that measures a person's personality traits. As of 2015, the active version of the questionnaire is the fifth edition. This edition measures responses to a set of 185 questions. The responses to the questions are a self-rating on how much the stated characteristic or behavior applies to the individual. The five answer options are "strongly disagree," "disagree," "neither agree nor disagree," "agree" and "strongly agree."

The 16 personality traits were originally identified by Raymond B. Cattell in 1946. Cattell and his colleagues identified five factors that still serve as the foundation of the 16 personality characteristics. These are referred to as global factors. Each global factor contains a subset of personality traits. For example, the global factor identified as "extraversion" encompasses the "warmth," "liveliness," "social boldness," "forthrightness" and "affiliative" personality characteristics.

The 16PF Questionnaire is used for a variety of ways. In the business world, the assessment allows recruiters to select personnel based on their personal qualities, which can influence their behavior in a work environment. This is important to ensure that a candidate is a good fit for a work style or that a candidate can work well with existing personnel. The questionnaire is also used for professional psychology and counseling work, where it helps to identify strengths, weaknesses and potential problem areas. Some specific areas in which the assessment is useful are marriage counseling, academic counseling, career counseling and development, and therapy.