BFI-10 - The Big Five Inventory 10 Item Scale

The BFI-10 is a 10-item scale measuring the Big Five personality traits Extraversion, Agreeableness, Conscientiousness, Emotional Stability, and Openness. The scale was developed based on the 44-item Big Five Inventory (BFI-44; John, Donahue, & Kentle, 1991; Rammstedt, 1997) and designed for contexts in which respondents’ time is severely limited. Test-retest correlations suggest acceptable reliability. Correlations with other Big Five instruments, correlations between self and peer ratings, and associations with sociodemographic variables suggest good validities of the BFI-10 scores.

Frequently asked Questions about BFI-10

The BFI-10 is an open-access instrument that can be used for non-commercial research. There is no need to ask for permission. If you use the BFI-10, please cite

Rammstedt, B. & John, O.P. (2007). Measuring personality in one minute or less: A 10-item short version of  the Big Five Inventory in English and German. Journal of Research in Personality, 41, 203–212. 

The BFI-10 is particularly designed for large-scale assessments with limited time resources. The BFI-10 should not be used for individual diagnostics because the reliability of the instrument does not allow to make inferences about single respondents. The BFI-10 must not be used for commercial purposes. If you use the BFI-10, please consider supporting Open Science by publishing your data in a data repository such as the GESIS datorium.

Rammstedt, B. & John, O.P. (2007). Measuring personality in one minute or less: A 10-item short version of  the Big Five Inventory in English and German. Journal of Research in Personality, 41, 203–212. 

The BFI-10 was simultaneously developed in English and German (see Rammstedt & John, 2007). Items were selected that they (1) measure core, but not redundant aspects of the Big Five factors, (2) show simple-structure of factor loadings, (3) represent each factor with one positively and one negatively keyed items, and (4) have identical meaning in English and German.

In both US and German samples, the Fisher-Z-corrected overall mean correlation between the dimensions of the BFI-10 and those of the BFI-44 were r=.83 (Rammstedt & John, 2007) which means that the BFI-10 items predicted almost 70% of the variance of the BFI-44 scales.

Several studies demonstrate acceptable reliability estimates for the BFI-10. In a sample of American students, Rammstedt and John (2007) demonstrated test-retest correlations between r=.65 (Openness) and r=.79 (Extraversion) over a period of 6 to 8 weeks. Comparable results were found for the German BFI-10 items in several studies. For example, Rammstedt et al. (2014) reported retest correlations between r =.49 (Neuroticism) and =.62 (Openness) over a period of 6 weeks.

The items' internal consistencies are considerably smaller than the test-retest correlations. However, the internal consistency underestimates the reliability for heterogeneous scales such as the BFI-10 were the items aim to measure distinct aspects of the construct.

There are several findings that support the factorial validity, the construct validity, and the criterion validity of the BFI-10. Factorial validity: The correlations among the Big Five scales are low, ranging from r=.08 to r=.13 in all US and German samples (Rammstedt & John, 2007). Furthermore, factor analyses reveal a simple-structure of the items with substantial loadings on the convergent factor (averaged .64) and negligible secondary loadings on the four other factors (averaged .08) (Rammstedt & John, 2007Rammstedt et al., 2013Rammstedt et al., 2014).

Construct validity: Correlations with the NEO-PI-R domain and facets scales show substantial convergent and discriminant validity. The pattern of correlations for the BFI-10 is generally similar to that for the BFI-44 (Rammstedt & John, 2007). Criterion validity: Rammstedt & John, 2007 report averaged correlation between self reports and peer reports of r=.44. Further studies reveal associations with sociodemographic variables, subjective well-being, deviance, social network, effort-reward-imbalance, or political participation (Rammstedt et al., 2013Rammstedt et al., 2014).

Yes, there are reference statistics based on a representative sample of the general population in Germany (Rammstedt et al., 2014). Furthermore, the data of the ISSP 2005 can be used as reference statistics for Israel, Belgium, the Czech Republic, Denmark, the Netherlands, the UK, France, Switzerland, Japan, Korea, Latvia, the Philippines, Russia, the Dominican Republic, Mexico, and Taiwan (please note that the quality of most translations have not been tested yet and thus, data should be interpreted with caution).

Samples that are heterogeneous in education, cognitive ability, or age can cause problems such as acquiescence responding which in turn can bias correlations, factor loadings, or correlation with external criteria (Danner, Aichholzer, & Rammstedt, 2015). If scale scores of the Big Five (extraversion, agreeableness, conscientiousness, neuroticism, and openness) are analyzed, the BFI-10 is already adjusted for acquiescence because the scales are balanced (consisting of one positively keyed and one negatively keyed item).

However, if items scores are analyzed, it may be necessary to adjust the item scores for acquiescence by either ipsativing data or modelling acquiescence as a latent variable. Ipsativing raw data can be done by computing a mean score across all 10 items and subsequently substracting that mean score from each item score (cf. Rammstedt et al., 2010Rammstedt & Farmer, 2013Rammstedt et al., 2013). Modelling acquiescence as a latent variable requires setting the path from the latent acquiescence variable to all manifest items to 1 whereas the path from the latent construct variables to the manifest items are freely estimated (Billiet & McClendon, 2000; Danner, Aichholzer, & Rammstedt, 2015).

Yes, Rammstedt et al., 2013 have demonstrated that the factorial validity and the criterion validity of the BFI-10 is comparable in paper-pencil administration and in personal interviews.

Yes, the BFI-10 has been developed based on the German and the English items. In addition, the BFI-10 has been translated into various other languages, e.g., in the International Social Survey Programme (ISSP). Analyzing the data of the ISSP with multi-group structural equation models suggests that the BFI-10 is metrically invariant across the United States, Germany, New Zealand, Switzerland, Netherlands, Denmark, Ireland, and France. Be aware though that not all available translations have been validated.

Arabic items (Israel)  (666 kB) (666 kB)

Arabic items (Egypt) (149 kB) (149 kB)

Czech items (32 kB) (32 kB)

Danish items (32 kB) (32 kB)

Dutch items (32 kB) (32 kB)

English items (32 kB) (32 kB)

Flemish items (Belgium) (31 kB) (31 kB)

French items (56 kB) (56 kB)

French items (Switzerland) (34 kB) (34 kB)

German items (Switzerland) (34 kB) (34 kB)

German items (Germany) (33 kB) (33 kB)

Italian items (Switzerland) (33 kB) (33 kB)

Japanese items (577 kB) (577 kB)

Korean items (46 kB) (46 kB)

Latvian items (32 kB) (32 kB)

Maltese items (58 kB) (58 kB)

Philippine items (32 kB) (32 kB)

Russian items (38 kB) (38 kB)

Russian items (Israel) (37 kB) (37 kB)

Russian items (Latvia) (37 kB) (37 kB)

Spanish items (Dominican Republic) (34 kB) (34 kB)

Spanish items (Mexico) (33 kB) (33 kB)

Taiwanese items (50 kB) (50 kB)

Urdu items (63 kB) (63 kB)

Arabic Items (Israel) Flemish Items (Belgium) Japanese Items Russian Items (Israel)
Arabic Items (Egypt) French Items Korean Items Russian Items (Latvia)
Czech Items French Items (Switzerland) Latvian Items Spanish Items (Dominican Republic)
Danish Items German Items (Switzerland) Maltese Items Spanish Items (Mexico)
Dutch Items German Items (Germany) Philippine Items Taiwanese Items
English Items Italian Items (Switzerland) Russian Items Urdu Items

An extensive documentation of the BFI-10 is published in ZIS, the open-access repository for items and scales at

The BFI-10 has been used in numerous studies such as the International Social Survey Programme or the World Value Survey. Several of these data is publically available, for example:

  • ISSP Research Group (2013). International Social Survey Programme: Work Orientation III - ISSP 2005. [Data set]. GESIS Data Archive, Cologne. ZA4350 Data file Version 2.0.0. URL
  • World Values Survey Association (2010-1014).World Values Survey Wave 6. [Data set]. Asep/JDS, Madrid. Official Aggregate v.20150418. URL
  • Blossfeld, H.-P., Roßbach, H.-G., & von Maurice, J. (Eds.). (2011). Education as a lifelong process: The German National Educational Panel Study (NEPS) [Special Issue]. Zeitschrift für Erziehungswissenschaft, 14. Data for Starting Cohorte 3 to 6: URL
  • Kritzinger, S., Johann, D., Thomas, K., Glantschnigg, C., Aichholzer, J., Glinitzer, K., Gründl, J., Oberluggauer, P., Wagner, M. (2016). AUTNES Online Panel Study. [Data set]. GESIS Data Archive, Cologne. ZA6594 Data file Version 1.0.0. doi:10.4232/1.12647 URL
  • Rattinger, H., Roßteutscher, S., Schmitt-Beck, R., Weßels, B., Steinbrecher, M. (2015). Short-term Campaign Panel (German Longitudinal Election Study, GLES 2009). [Data set]. GESIS Data Archive, Cologne. ZA5305 Data file Version 5.0.0. doi:10.4232/1.12198 URL
  • Grümer, S. & Körner, A. (2009). Technical report on the Jena Study on Social Change and Human Development. Unpublished Manuscript. 

Billiet, J. B., & McClendon, M. J. (2000). Modeling acquiescence in measurement models for two balanced sets of items. Structural Equation Modeling, 7(4), 608-628.

Danner, D., Aichholzer, J., & Rammstedt, B. (2015). Acquiescence in personality questionnaires: Relevance, domain specificity, and stability. Journal of Research in Personality, 57, 119-130. PDF

ISSP Research Group (2013). International Social Survey Programme: Work Orientation III - ISSP 2005. GESIS Data Archive, Cologne. ZA4350 Data file Version 2.0.0.

John, O. P., Donahue, E. M., & Kentle, R. L. (1991). The Big Five Inventory--Versions 4a and 54. Berkeley, CA: University of California,Berkeley, Institute of Personality and Social Research.

Rammstedt, B., 1997: Die deutsche Version des Big Five Inventory (BFI): Übersetzung und Validierung eines Fragebogens zur Erfassung des Fünf-Faktoren-Modells der Persönlichkeit. Unpublished thesis. University of Bielefeld, Germany.

Rammstedt, B., & Farmer, R. F. (2013). The impact of acquiescence on the evaluation of personality structure. Psychological Assessment, 25(4), 1137-1145. PDF

Rammstedt, B., Goldberg, L. R., & Borg, I. (2010). The measurement equivalence of Big-Five factor markers for persons with different levels of education. Journal of Research in Personality, 44(1), 53-61. PDF

Rammstedt, B. & John, O.P. (2007). Measuring personality in one minute or less: A 10-item short version of the Big Five Inventory in English and German. Journal of Research in Personality, 41, 203-212. PDF

Rammstedt, B., Kemper, C. J., Klein, M. C., Beierlein, C. & Kovaleva, A., (2013). A Short Scale for Assessing the Big Five Dimensions of Personality - 10 Item Big Five Inventory (BFI-10). [Eine kurze Skala zur Messung der fünf Dimensionen der Persönlichkeit - 10 Item Big Five Inventory (BFI-10)]. Big Five Inventory (BFI-10). methoden, daten, analysen, 7(2), 233-249. doi:10. 12758/mda.2013.013 PDF

Rammstedt, B., Kemper, C. J., Klein, M. C., Beierlein, C. & Kovaleva, A., (2014). Big Five Inventory (BFI-10). Zusammenstellung sozialwissenschaftlicher Items und Skalen [The collection of Social Science Items and Scales]. doi:10.6102/zis76 PDF