The Psychometrics of the Mini-K: Evidence from Two College Samples

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Evolutionary Psychology






Many published studies have employed the Mini-K to measure a single fast-slow life history dimension. However, the internal structure of the Mini-K has not been determined and it is not clear that a single higher order K-factor fits the data. It is also not clear that the Mini-K is measurement invariant across groups such as the sexes. To establish the construct validity of K as well as the broader usefulness of applying life history theory to humans, it is crucial that these psychometric issues are addressed as a part of measure validation efforts. Here we report on three studies that used latent variable modeling and data drawn from two college student samples (ns = 361 and 300) to elucidate the psychometrics of the Mini-K. We found that (a) the Mini-K had a six dimensional first-order structure, (b) the K-factor provided a parsimonious explanation of the associations among the lower order factors at no significant cost to fit, (c) the Mini-K measured the same K-factor across the sexes, (d) K-factor means did not have the same meaning across the sexes and thus the first-order factors should be used in studies of mean sex differences, and finally, (e) the K-factor was only associated with environment and aspects of mating competition in females. Implications and future directions for life history research are discussed. © The Author(s) 2017.



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