Latent variable models of need for uniqueness
The theory of uniqueness has been invoked to explain attitudinal and behavioral nonconformity with respect to peer-group, social-cultural, and statistical norms, as well as the development of a distinctive view of self via seeking novelty goods, adopting new products, acquiring scarce commodities, and amassing material possessions. Present research endeavors in psychology and consumer behavior are inhibited by uncertainty regarding the psychometric properties of the Need for Uniqueness Scale, the primary instrument for measuring individual differences in uniqueness motivation. In an important step toward facilitating research on uniqueness motivation, we used confirmatory factor analysis to evaluate three a priori latent variable models of responses to the Need for Uniqueness Scale. Among the a priori models, an oblique three-factor model best accounted for commonality among items. Exploratory factor analysis followed by estimation of unrestricted three- and four-factor models revealed that a model with a complex pattern of loadings on four modestly correlated factors may best explain the latent structure of the Need for Uniqueness Scale. Additional analyses evaluated the associations among the three a priori factors and an array of individual differences. Results of those analyses indicated the need to distinguish among facets of the uniqueness motive in behavioral research.
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