Psychometric Properties of a Psychological Measure of Indigenous Personality (Suryomentaram's Perspective): Initial Study
RESEARCH ARTICLE

Psychometric Properties of a Psychological Measure of Indigenous Personality (Suryomentaram's Perspective): Initial Study

The Open Psychology Journal 03 Jun 2024 RESEARCH ARTICLE DOI: 10.2174/0118743501304853240510162859

Abstract

Background

Character development is central in personality and developmental psychology, with strong character as a protective factor against psychological disorders. Given the importance of character assessment, this study explores the development and initial psychometric evaluation of an indigenous personality measure, the Suryomentaram Personality Scale (SPS), grounded in empirical research on individuals trained in Suryomentaram philosophies.

Objective

The study aimed to (1) develop the SPS and (2) evaluate its psychometric properties, including content validity, factor structure, and internal consistency reliability.

Methods

Three analytical methods were employed: content validity assessment by six subject matter experts (SMEs), exploratory factor analysis (EFA), and reliability analysis. A convenience sample of 282 students participated in EFA and reliability analyses. Participants were recruited through social media announcements and provided informed consent before completing the SPS.

Results

Content validity analysis revealed eight items falling below the acceptable Aiken's V threshold (< 0.8) out of 23 initially developed items. EFA of the remaining 15 items identified four relatively independent factors: perseverance, optimism, lack of worry and regret, and empathy. Internal consistency reliability estimates for each factor ranged from 0.482 to 0.716.

Conclusion

This initial study provides evidence for the adequate psychometric properties of the SPS based on content validity, EFA, and reliability analysis. Further research is needed to confirm these findings and explore the scale's convergent and discriminant validity.

Keywords: Scale, Development, Indigenous, Psychology, Personality, Suryomentaram.

1. INTRODUCTION

Character education encompasses the psychological traits that empower individuals to thrive as valued members of society, pursue intellectual growth, strive for excellence, and act with moral purpose [1]. In Indonesia, character education initiatives have been implemented across primary and secondary school levels. Notably, the “Projek Penguatan Profil Pelajar Pancasila” (P5) complements the 2003 National Education System Law (Sisdiknas) by emphasizing character development through the lens of Pancasila values, aiming to cultivate lifelong learners with competence, character, and responsible citizenship [2].

While diverse indigenous character teachings enrich the Javanese cultural landscape, including Serat Wulangreh, Serat Wedhatama, Serat Jayengbaya, Serat Nitik Kanjeng Ratu Pambayun, and Suryomentaram teachings [3-7]. The latter has received extensive research attention across various scientific disciplines [8-12]. Therefore, this article specifically focuses on the teachings of Ki Ageng Suryomentaram, highlighting their potential contributions to character education within the Indonesian context.

Ki Ageng Suryomentaram, a revered Javanese philosopher, provided life principles and ethical philosophies that transcended mere inspiration. During the colonial era, his teachings became a galvanizing force for the independence movement, promoting Javanese values and ethics as an antithesis to the imposed colonial way of life [13]. Suryomentaram's magnum opus, “Pembangunan Djiwa Warga Negara” (Building the Soul of the Nation), served as a powerful call to arms against colonial oppression [8]. At the core of Suryomentaram's philosophy lies the practice of rasa, a concept emphasizing an empathetic understanding of others' perspectives. He eloquently challenges the notion that Indonesian suffering under Dutch rule was solely due to violent subjugation (“angkara-murka”). Instead, he posits that internal divisions and a lack of shared national identity played a crucial role in their vulnerability [8].

In recent years, scholars have begun translating Suryomentaram's teachings into practical applications for character education. Notably, Prasetya utilizes rasa cultivation to combat bullying [14], while Prakosa [9] and Sugiarto [15] draw upon Suryomentaram's wisdom to formulate pandemic response models. Moreover, Kholik and Himam incorporate his teachings into psychotherapy interventions [16], and Sulistiani et al. integrate them within the Independent Learning National Curriculum Program [17]. Despite these promising advancements, the development of character assessment tools based on Suryomentaram's rich philosophical tapestry remains largely unexplored.

Building upon previous efforts by Prihartanti [7, 10] to translate Suryomentaram's teachings into quantifiable personality traits, this study aims to develop and evaluate the Suryomentaram Personality Scale (SPS). Prihartanti's work identified key concepts and indicators derived from qualitative research, including freedom from lingering regrets and worries, persistent problem-solving, acceptance of reality, embracing suffering and deriving meaning from it, maintaining a positive outlook, unwavering optimism, commitment to self-improvement, and empathetic perspective-taking.

Our present investigation focuses on assessing the psychometric properties of the SPS through three steps: content validity analysis by subject matter experts (SMEs), exploratory factor analysis (EFA) to unveil the underlying structure of the scale, and reliability analysis to gauge internal consistency. While content validity assessment relies on SME expertise, factor and reliability analyses will draw upon data collected through field testing.

2. MATERIALS AND METHODS

2.1. Participants

This study employed two participant groups: subject matter experts (SMEs) and students from several Universities in Indonesia. The SME panel comprised two clinical psychologists, one educational psychologist, one social psychologist, one psychometrician, and one expert in indigenous psychology. The student sample consisted of 292 undergraduate and postgraduate students initially, but pre-analysis screening excluded four due to missing consent responses, one who declined consent, and five who were under 18. The final analyzed data included 282 students (Mage = 22.78, SDage = 3.75), with 206 females and 74 males (two students did not report gender).

2.2. Instruments

The initial version of the Suryomentaram Personality Scale (SPS) contained 23 items on a five-point Likert scale (1 = Strongly Disagree, 5 = Strongly Agree). SPS development was based on findings from previous research [7, 10]. Specific item details are provided in Table 1.

Table 1.
Content Validity Index of the 23-Item SPS.
Indicator No. Wording Style Aiken' V
Free from lingering regrets and worries. 1 Unfavourable 0.917
13 Favourable 1.000
Persistent in solving life problems or tasks. 2 Favourable 0.667
3 Unfavourable 0.833
Accept reality as it is. 14 Unfavourable 0.958
4 Favourable 0.875
Dare to suffer and grasp the meaning behind suffering. 15 Favourable 0.833
5 Unfavourable 0.792
Apply a positive perspective. 16 Unfavourable 0.917
6 Unfavourable 0.458
17 Unfavourable 1.000
Sure everything will go well. 7 Favourable 0.875
18 Unfavourable 1.000
19 Unfavourable 0.625
Do the best to improve himself. 8 Favourable 0.958
20 Favourable 0.958
9 Favourable 1.000
21 Favourable 1.000
Perceive other people's feelings according to other people's perspectives. 10 Unfavourable 0.917
22 Favourable 0.917
11 Unfavourable 0.708
23 Unfavourable 1.000
12 Favourable 0.625

The final version of the Suryomentaram Personality Scale (SPS) contained 15 items. Eight items had low Aiken's V values, so they were removed from the field test stage.

2.3. Procedures

The study employed a two-stage approach. In the first stage, SMEs evaluated the content validity of the 23 items using a provided rating form, scoring each item on a scale of 1 (very irrelevant) to 5 (very relevant). Based on these ratings, Aiken's V values were calculated to determine the quality of content validity for each item. Items exceeding the established criteria were retained for the subsequent field test.

In the second stage, the online field test was conducted using Google Forms. Participants were recruited through social media announcements and provided informed consent before completing the SPS. Individuals who failed to answer the consent questions or decline consent were excluded from the analysis.

2.4. Data Analysis

Data analysis encompassed three key aspects: content validity, factor analysis, and reliability analysis. Content validity was assessed using Aiken's V formula implemented in a spreadsheet [18]. Exploratory factor analysis (EFA) was employed to explore the underlying structure of the SPS. Finally, Cronbach's Alpha coefficient was calculated to evaluate the internal consistency of the scale [19]. EFA and reliability analyses were conducted using JASP software version 0.18.1.0 [20].

3. RESULTS

3.1. Content Validity Index

Table 1 presents the content validity index scores for the Suryomentaram Personality Scale (SPS) items, as assessed by six subject matter experts (SMEs). Following Aiken's V criteria table for six raters and five response options [18], Aiken's V coefficient exceeding 0.88 denoted acceptable item content validity. Analysis of the SME ratings revealed that eight of the initial 23 items fell below the established threshold, resulting in the retention of only 15 items with adequate content validity for further analysis. These 15 items were subsequently employed in the subsequent field test to investigate the instrument's factor structure and reliability.

Table 2.
Descriptive statistics of the 15-item SPS.
Item N NA Minimum Maximum Range Median
1. Failure provokes anger or anxiety within me (Kegagalan membuat saya merasa marah atau khawatir) 282 0 1 5 4 4
2. Difficulties motivate me to diligently overcome them (Kesulitan membuat saya tertantang untuk menyelesaikannya dengan baik) 282 0 1 5 4 4
3. I relentlessly pursue accomplishment, believing it yields optimal outcomes (Prestasi adalah sesuatu yang terus saya usahakan yang dapat menghasilkan yang terbaik) 282 0 1 5 4 4
4. I consider it unproductive to engage with others' grievances (Mendengarkan keluhan orang lain hanya membuang waktu) 282 0 1 5 4 2
5. I perceive failures as opportunities to cultivate patience (Kegagalan sebenarnya berlatih sabar) 282 0 1 5 4 5
6. Excessive focus on achievement burdens me with worry and anticipates inevitable decline (Prestasi membuat hidup saya terbebani dan khawatir yang suatu saat akan menurun) 282 0 1 5 4 3
7. I view challenges as avenues for enriching my knowledge and skills (Saya menilai tantangan sebagai peluang untuk belajar sesuatu yang baru) 282 0 1 5 4 4
8. My friend's good fortune brings me joy (Saya ikut senang jika teman saya mendapatkan keberuntungan) 282 0 1 5 4 4
9. The prospect of perpetual failure without meaningful progress disheartens me (Saya pikir selamanya saya akan gagal, tanpa kemajuan yang berarti) 282 0 1 5 4 1
10. I harbor a fervent desire to surpass my past achievements (Saya memiliki keinginan yang kuat untuk meraih prestasi yang lebih baik dari yang telah saya capai) 281 1 1 5 4 5
11. Hearing about a friend's misfortune feels ordinary to me (Perasaan saya biasa saja mendengar ada teman mendapatkan musibah) 282 0 1 5 4 1
12. My ability to bounce back from sadness is swift (Saya termasuk orang yang cepat bangkit dari kesedihan) 282 0 1 5 4 4
13. Contemplating the magnitude of my problems breeds pessimism (Bila membayangkan beratnya masalah yang saya hadapi, saya merasa pesimis) 282 0 1 5 4 3
14. I consistently exert my best effort to complete all tasks (Saya biasa berusaha semaksimal mungkin di setiap penyelesaian tugas) 282 0 2 5 3 4
15. Despite encountering suffering throughout my life, I maintain a sense of inner peace (Dalam kehidupan saya tidak pernah lepas dari penderitaan, namun saya tetap merasa damai) 282 0 1 5 4 4

3.2. Exploratory Factor Analysis and Reliability Analysis

Table 2 presents the descriptive statistics for the 15 SPS items retained after content validity analysis. The median values range from 1 to 5, indicating considerable variability in participant responses. Item 5 (“I perceive failures as opportunities to cultivate patience”) and Item 10 “"I harbor a fervent desire to surpass my past achievements””) exhibited the highest median (Mdn = 5), suggesting a high level of agreement among participants with the statement. Conversely, Item 9 “(”The prospect of perpetual failure without meaningful progress disheartens me””) and Item 11 (“Hearing about a friend's misfortune feels ordinary to me”) elicited the lowest median (Mdn = 1), implying low agreement and potentially requiring further examination. This variability in item endorsement highlights the diversity in perspectives regarding Suryomentaram's teachings within the sample.

Prior to conducting exploratory factor analysis (EFA), preliminary data screening was performed. One missing value was identified in Item 11 and subsequently handled using the pairwise deletion method. A polychoric/ tetrachoric correlation matrix was employed as the input for EFA. Polychoric/tetrachoric correlations are preferred instead of Pearson correlations when variables are measured with an ordinal scale [21].

Bartlett's test of sphericity yielded a significant result, χ2(1299.189) = 105,000, p < 0.001, affirming the suitability of the correlation matrix for factor analysis. Additionally, the Kaiser-Meyer-Olkin (KMO) measure of sampling adequacy yielded a value of 0.803, surpassing the recommended threshold of 0.6 [21], further supporting the appropriateness of conducting EFA.

EFA was executed using principal axis factoring (PAF) as the extraction method and oblique promax rotation, as the SPS items were anticipated to exhibit conceptual interrelations [22]. The number of factors underlying the SPS dataset was determined based on eigenvalues exceeding 1.

The EFA yielded four distinct factors (Tables 3 and 4), collectively explaining 45.7% of the total variance in the SPS items. An examination of individual item loadings revealed that Item 8 exhibited relatively high loadings on both Factor 2 and Factor 4. After a careful review of the item wording and conceptual interpretation of the factors, the researchers opted to reassign Item 8 to Factor 4 for optimal interpretability and model fit.

Table 3.
Factor structure of the 15-item SPS.
Item Factor 1 Factor 2 Factor 3 Factor 4 Uniqueness
10. I harbor a fervent desire to surpass my past achievements. 0.991 -0.127 0.003 0.038 0.156
3. I relentlessly pursue accomplishment, believing it yields optimal outcomes. 0.880 -0.027 0.076 0.161 0.391
14. I consistently exert my best effort to complete all tasks. 0.482 0.161 -0.040 0.012 0.655
12 My ability to bounce back from sadness is swift. -0.056 0.669 -0.191 0.201 0.560
15. Despite encountering suffering throughout my life, I maintain a sense of inner peace. -0.043 0.631 0.037 0.176 0.693
7. I view challenges as avenues for enriching my knowledge and skills. 0.215 0.547 0.077 -0.261 0.359
5. I perceive failures as opportunities to cultivate patience. -0.068 0.423 0.055 -0.265 0.724
2. Difficulties motivate me to diligently overcome them. 0.197 0.397 -0.023 -0.069 0.673
8. My friend's good fortune brings me joy. 0.013 0.361 -0.010 -0.324 0.647
13. Contemplating the magnitude of my problems breeds pessimism. -0.030 -0.097 0.883 -0.273 0.354
6. Excessive focus on achievement burdens me with worry and anticipates inevitable decline. 0.025 0.168 0.52 0.337 0.52
1. Failure provokes anger or anxiety within me. 0.149 -0.173 0.510 0.056 0.659
9. The prospect of perpetual failure without meaningful progress disheartens me. -0.136 0.106 0.484 0.253 0.526
4. I consider it unproductive to engage with others' grievances. 0.168 0.043 -0.076 0.743 0.615
11. Hearing about a friend's misfortune feels ordinary to me. -0.159 0.112 0.096 0.514 0.612
Note: Applied rotation method is promax. Intended factor loadings are in bold.
Table 4.
Eigenvalues and variance of the 15-item SPS.
- Eigenvalues Unrotated Solution Rotated Solution
SumSq. Loadings Proportion Var. Cumulative SumSq. Loadings Proportion Var. Cumulative
Factor 1 4.536 4.029 0.269 0.269 2.087 0.139 0.139
Factor 2 1.714 1.271 0.085 0.353 1.767 0.118 0.257
Factor 3 1.526 0.976 0.065 0.418 1.654 0.11 0.367
Factor 4 1.106 0.581 0.039 0.457 1.349 0.09 0.457
Table 5.
Correlation matrix of the four factors of the 15-Item SPS.
- Factor 1 Factor 2 Factor 3 Factor 4
Factor 1 1 - - -
Factor 2 0.473 1 - -
Factor 3 -0.369 -0.416 1 -
Factor 4 -0.514 -0.436 0.579 1

Factor 1 comprised three items (3, 11, and 15) reflecting perseverance, defined by the consistent endeavor to achieve or attain goals, as exemplified by the statement: “Achievement is something that I continue to strive for which can produce the best.” Subsequent reliability analysis confirmed this factor's acceptable internal consistency, with a Cronbach's alpha coefficient of 0.716.

Factor 2 comprised five items (2, 5, 7, 13, and 16) assessing optimism, characterized by a positive outlook and the expectation of favorable outcomes, as exemplified by the statement: “I view challenges as opportunities to learn something new.” Notably, further reliability analysis revealed a potentially lower internal consistency for this factor, with a Cronbach's alpha coefficient of 0.630.

Factor 3 encompassed four items (1, 6, 10, and 14) reflecting freedom from worry and regret, characterized by an absence of excessive concern about past mistakes or future decline, exemplified by the reversed statement: “Achievements make my life burdened and worried which will one day decline.” However, further reliability analysis indicated a potentially low internal consistency for this factor, with a Cronbach's alpha coefficient of 0.68.

Factor 4 comprised three items (4, 8, and 12) assessing empathy, defined as the ability to understand and share the feelings of others from their perspective, as illustrated by the statement: “I'm happy if my friend gets lucky.” Unfortunately, the internal consistency of this factor, as measured by a Cronbach's alpha coefficient of 0.482, also fell below optimal levels.

Table 5 presents the inter-factor correlations derived from the EFA analysis. The observed range of -0.369 to 0.579 suggests relatively low to moderate relationships between the extracted factors. This indicates that the factors can be considered largely independent or multidimensional, reflecting distinct aspects of Suryo- mentaram's teachings. As highlighted by Brown [23], inter-factor correlations exceeding 0.80 may raise concerns about poor discriminant validity and suggest the possibility of a more parsimonious solution with fewer factors.

4. DISCUSSION

Content validity analysis identified eight of the 23 initial items as falling below the established Aiken's V criteria (<0.8) for acceptable relevance to Suryo- mentaram's teachings. Subsequent EFA of the remaining 15 items yielded four distinct and relatively independent factors. These factors were named perseverance (Factor 1), optimism (Factor 2), freedom from worry and regret (Factor 3), and empathy (Factor 4).

Perseverance reflects a steadfast will grounded in the belief in one's capacity to achieve improved conditions. This aligns with the concept of pengalaman pait getir (bitter experiences) in Suryomentaram's teachings, which posits that even challenging experiences can offer valuable lessons and contribute to restoring psychological balance [8]. Individuals who perseveringly navigate life's challenges, drawing wisdom from hardship, cultivate their unique personalities.

Optimism, within this framework, reflects a positive cognitive and behavioral orientation towards overcoming challenges. It embodies the belief that despite difficulties, the dedicated effort can ultimately lead to favorable outcomes. This aligns with Suryomentaram's concept of lasting interest, which fosters hope and optimism through the recognition of experience's cyclical nature [8]. The impermanence of both joy (bungah) and sorrow (susah) underscores the dynamic interplay between happiness and hardship, with neither state existing in perpetuity. This understanding is a source of resilience and optimism for individuals facing adversity.

Freedom from worry and regret, in this framework, signifies an internal state free from persistent fretting, regret, and overreliance on problem-solving. This fosters a resolute attitude known as “tatag” in Suryomentaram's teachings. “Tatag” emphasizes accepting one's destiny with stoicism (“wherever, whenever, however”) [8]. It also involves perceiving the interconnectedness of life events as divinely ordained gifts. This “tatag” attitude, synonymous with “keberanian” (courage) in other interpretations [24], cultivates inner peace and serenity by minimizing regret, worry, fear, resentment, and envy [25].

Empathy, within this context, represents the ability to fully understand and share another's feelings and experiences from their perspective. Suryomentaram [24] posits that genuine empathy necessitates transcending personal characteristics and reaching the “human without attributes”state, where one can fully appreciate another's emotions.

This research has several limitations. First, the sampling method used was non-random, so this study's results cannot be generalized to the target population. However, generalization is not the main aim of this research. This research is exploratory research whose objective is to identify factors formed from the items/indicators developed. So, future research needs to test the model found in this study with new samples and using random sampling methods.

In exploratory factor analysis (EFA), there are criticisms regarding the subjective interpretation of factor numbers. However, given the nascent stage of instrument development, EFA was an appropriate method for initially exploring the SPS factor structure [21, 23]. Future research can refine and validate these findings using confirmatory factor analysis (CFA) and other psychometric techniques.

Finally, the cumulative variance of the four SPS factors is 45.7%. This value is smaller than the expected 50% cumulative variance. This is due to the unbalanced number of items, which makes the variance of each factor relatively diverse. For example, factor 4, which only consists of 3 items, shows a relatively low reliability (0.482) compared to the other three factors. Therefore, we recommend increasing the number of items.

CONCLUSION

The psychometric evidence presented in this study indicates that the SPS instrument possesses adequate psychometric properties. This conclusion is supported by the findings of content validity analysis, exploratory factor analysis (EFA), and reliability analysis. Further research utilizing confirmatory factor analysis (CFA) and other advanced psychometric techniques is recommended to refine and strengthen these findings.

LIST OF ABBREVIATIONS

EFA = Exploratory factor analysis
CFA = Confirmatory factor analysis
SME's = Subject Matter Experts
SPS = Suryomentaram Personality Scale

ETHICS APPROVAL AND CONSENT TO PARTICIPATE

This study was approved by the Research Ethics Committee of the Faculty of Medicine, Universitas Muhammadiyah Surakarta, with ethical eligibility number 3461/B.2/KEPK-FKUMS/IV/2021.

HUMAN AND ANIMAL RIGHTS

This research did not involve the use of animals. All procedures involving human participants were conducted in accordance with the ethical standards of the relevant institutional and research committee and adhered to the principles outlined in the 1975 Declaration of Helsinki, as revised in 2013.

CONSENT FOR PUBLICATION

Informed consent was obtained from all participants prior to their involvement in the study, ensuring their voluntary and informed agreement to participate in the publication of their data.

STANDARDS OF REPORTING

The STROBE guidelines were followed when reporting this research.

AVAILABILITY OF DATA AND MATERIALS

The data supporting the findings of the article is available in the link https://osf.io/xa7qt/?view_only=90d3 8d791170440da49fe019a2698ccf.

FUNDING

This study was funded by the Research and Innovation Institute of Universitas Muhammadiyah Surakarta (LRI UMS) through the Hibah Integrasi Tri Dharma (HIT) grant, Funder ID : 1053, Awards/Grant number: 89.1/A.6-II/PS/I/2021.

CONFLICT OF INTEREST

The authors declare no conflicts of interest, financial or otherwise.

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

The researchers like to acknowledge the Research and Innovation Institute of Universitas Muhammadiyah Surakarta for providing financial support for this work.

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