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The 16 Personality Factors: Factor O – Apprehension


The next 16PF scale for discussion is the Factor "O" scale, which is Apprehension (Self-Assured vs. Apprehensive).  What exactly does this scale measure?

High scorers tend to worry about things and feel apprehensive and insecure.  This could be a result of life circumstances or just a general pattern of reacting to events.  People with high scores report they're sensitive, self-critical, and feel hurt if people dislike them.  Worrying can help if it leads a person to anticipate dangers and take preventative steps to reduce risks, as well as being able to better judge the consequences of actions.

In contrast, low scorers tend to be more self-assured, confident, and self-satisfied.  They report worrying less than most people, don't spend much time thinking about what they should've said, and don't care if people dislike them.  Extremely low scores can mean someone is unrealistic, and his or her confidence is never shaken, even when it’s warranted.  They might ignore information that conflicts with their self image.

Factor O is one of the three scales which shows a gender difference, with women generally reporting slightly higher scores than men.  This factor contributes to the global Anxiety scale.  The socially desirable pole of this scale is the low end.

As with all the 16PF scales, major insights come from the interactions among the 16 scales, and not from each scale in isolation.


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