The RHETI (Version 2.5) has been Scientifically Validated
Most Recent Independent Validation Study, 2009
A PhD Dissertation has been completed by Mary Ann Giordano and awarded by Loyola University of Chicago. This is the third independently-conducted study on the RHETI (the Riso-Hudson Enneagram Type Indicator, Version 2.5). It corroborates the validation work of Rebecca Newgent, PhD, and confirms very high reliability coefficients when the RHETI is correlated with the NEO PI-R.
Report on First Validation, March 2001
In March, 2001, the Riso-Hudson Enneagram Type Indicator (RHETI, Version 2.5) was officially validated by independent research. The research, a doctoral dissertation conducted by Rebecca Newgent, Ph.D. at the University of Akron entitled "An Investigation of the Reliability and Validity of the Riso-Hudson Enneagram Type Indicator" is available from UMI Dissertation Services at 1-800-521-0600. Dr. Newgent concluded that the RHETI is scientifically "valid and reliable" as a test instrument with "solid psychometrics." You can view a .pdf of her dissertation with RHETI test statements removed here.
With these findings, the RHETI has become the most widely used Enneagram-based questionnaire to be independently validated by an impartial researcher. Dr. Newgent has had no funding by or connection with The Enneagram Institute; she conducted her study of the RHETI as part of her doctoral program in psychology and has successfully defended her validation dissertation. The Enneagram Institute's involvement was only to supply Dr. Newgent with several hundred copies of the RHETI for research purposes. The Enneagram Institute invites other qualified researchers and doctoral students to contact the Institute for copies of the RHETI on which to base further validation research.
The RHETI is a questionnaire of 144 pairs of statements in a forced-choice format which yields a rich cache of information not only about the user's main personality type but about other major personality structures, in particular the wings and the directions of integration and disintegration. In the vast majority of cases, the person's true personality type will be one of the top three scores. Equally noteworthy, the person's lowest scores will indicate which areas of his or her personality need more attention. The RHETI thus produces a full personality profile across all nine types which can be viewed as "psychological functions" or developmental aspects of the entire personality spectrum. Of the currently available Enneagram based tests, the RHETI alone produces such results.
Dr. Newgent's study was based on a sample size of 287 people, 27.5% male and 72.5% female, ranging in age from 18-74 years of age. 88.2% were Caucasian, and 11.8% were non-Caucasian.
The internal-consistency reliability scores indicate that the RHETI ranges from 56% to 82% accurate on the various types, with an overall accuracy of 72%. This is a solid score for a "forced choice" format test. According to research on the RHETI, the internal-consistency reliability alpha (Cronbach Coefficient Alpha) score for the nine types of the Enneagram as measured by the RHETI are as follows:
Cronbach Coefficient Alpha
The RHETI also compares well with the NEO PI-R test, which
has become the psychometric standard for testing non-pathological
personality. The NEO PI-R measures the factors of Neuroticism,
Extraversion, Openness, Agreeableness, and Conscientiousness,
(the "Five Factor Model"). According to Dr. Newgent, "results
of testing...indicated strong correlations between the findings
of the RHETI and the factors of the NEO PI-R." According to
the researcher: "Results of testing for concurrent validity
between the RHETI types and the NEO PI-R factors indicate
that the majority of the demographic descriptive variables
are invariant to the RHETI. The RHETI was able to predict
the NEO PI-R factors a majority of times, with a few exceptions,
regardless of the demographic variable."
Additional research is planned to bring the RHETI more solidly into the 80% range overall, which would be an extraordinarily high rating (since anything above 70% is acceptable). From a practical approach, the RHETI can be made even more accurate if you take the test along with someone who knows you well, such as a spouse, good friend, or therapist. Often we answer questions incorrectly because we read special meanings into words, misunderstand words or items, feel "test-anxiety," or, occasionally because of self-deception. Taking the test with someone who knows you well will get around some of these limitations and make the test even more accurate.
Drafting and pre-testing on the RHETI, which began in 1993,
independently researched at this high level of validation,
will give more credibility to the Enneagram in academic, educational,
and business fields. It also indirectly indicates the solid
grounding of The Insight Approach® on which the
RHETI is based. This test could not have been constructed
without careful observation of individuals, precision in discriminating
differences between the types, and the conceptual underpinning
of the Levels of Development, as well as other factors that
are part of The Insight Approach®.
The RHETI has sold over 200,000 copies worldwide and has become the most widely used and often translated Enneagram-based test. You can take the RHETI (Version 2.5) online for $10 with Visa, MasterCard, or American Express, or it can be ordered in hardcopy paperback offprint. Orders of 11 or more copies may be made from our office. Individual copies may be ordered from Amazon.com.
Report on Second Validation, November 2003
The second independent validation of the RHETI has been completed by Mustafa Abdullah at the University of Baghdad for an advanced MA degree in psychology under Professor Qassem Saleh. Even though Mr. Abdullah translated the RHETI into Arabic, his findings are consistent with (AND even stronger) than the first validation performed by Dr. Rebecca Newgent.
The results of Mr. Abdullah's validation of the RHETI are on the left, below, compared with the results of Dr. Newgent's validation on the right:
Alpha Cronbach coefficient
|TYPE||Abdullah study||Newgent study|
Note that most of the scores in the Abdullah study are within a percentage point or two of the Newgent study, indicating a basic "stability" for internal validity in the RHETI, even with the language and cultural differences. However, it is also striking that the three lowest scoring types—Three, Five, and Six—in the Newgent study are considerably higher in the Abdullah research, although Abdullah's findings are well within the average for his assessment of the RHETI as a whole (82% overall).
It is also noteworthy that Abdullah's findings are based on a sample size of 600 students drawn from the University of Baghdad, 200 each in the Schools of Law, Art, and Medicine. This sample size is extremely large for this kind of validation study, giving further weight to the accuracy of his findings. Abdullah hasn't completed this Masters thesis yet, and we'll release more information as soon as we receive it. We're also looking into getting copies of the Arabic translation—let us know if you're interested!
In addition,the fact that an Enneagram test—any Enneagram test—has been validated in Arabic as well as English is big news! There are many challenges in the translation and validation of psychometric tests becausepsychometric teststend to be culturally biased, in part because of the cultural viewpoint of the test's creators, and in part because culture influences personality and behavior. The fact that a translation validates not just in2 languages, but in 2 languages that are as culturally disparate as English-speaking Americans and Arabic-speaking Iraqis is very significant.It corroborates that the Enneagram is a personality typing system that transcends language and culture.
The latest version of the RHETI, Version 2.5, is available in the third edition of Discovering Your Personality Type (Houghton Mifflin, 2003) and online at www.EnneagramInstitute.com. We will shortly be conducting more research to improve this already-validated test. We are working on foreign language versions in German, Spanish, and French. Look for them in 2004 on our website.
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