© 2017

Validating Psychological Constructs

Historical, Philosophical, and Practical Dimensions


  • Explores the history and development of construct validity theory (CVT) in relation to the broader domain of psychological measurement

  • Critically examines CVT in a broader context

  • Brings together historical, philosophical, and pragmatic dimensions of CVT in a single work


Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xi
  2. Kathleen Slaney
    Pages 1-25
  3. The Historical Dimension of Construct Validity

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 27-27
    2. Kathleen Slaney
      Pages 59-81
    3. Kathleen Slaney
      Pages 83-109
    4. Kathleen Slaney
      Pages 111-140
  4. The Philosophical Dimension of Construct Validity

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 141-141
    2. Kathleen Slaney
      Pages 143-172
    3. Kathleen Slaney
      Pages 201-234
  5. The Pragmatic Dimension of Construct Validity

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 235-235
  6. Back Matter
    Pages 301-308

About this book


This book critically examines the historical and philosophical foundations of construct validity theory (CVT), and how these have and continue to inform and constrain the conceptualization of validity and its application in research. CVT has had an immense impact on how researchers in the behavioural sciences conceptualize and approach their subject matter. Yet, there is equivocation regarding the foundations of the CVT framework as well as ambiguities concerning the nature of the “constructs” that are its raison d’etre. The book is organized in terms of three major parts that speak, respectively, to the historical, philosophical, and pragmatic dimensions of CVT. The primary objective is to provide researchers and students with a critical lens through which a deeper understanding may be gained of both the utility and limitations of CVT and the validation practices to which it has given rise. 


Construct Validity Theory Classical Test Theory Modern Test Theory Loevinger Spearman Philosophy of Science Logical Positivism Operationism Logical Empiricism

Authors and affiliations

  1. 1.Simon Fraser UniversityBurnabyCanada

About the authors

Kathleen Slaney is Associate Professor of Psychology at Simon Fraser University, Canada. She is a Fellow of the American Psychological Association, and a co-editor of A Wittgensteinian Perspective on the Use of Conceptual Analysis in Psychology (2013) and The Wiley Handbook of Theoretical and Philosophical Psychology (2015).

Bibliographic information


“Slaney’s Validation Psychological Constructs is an impressive and long-overdue monograph on a central and implicit aspect of psychology’s methodological metaphysics. … This book is well worth the price and portions of it could easily be used for upper-year undergraduate and graduate classes, as well as lab readings for stimulating some overdue reflections.” (Ian James Davidson, Psychometrika, Vol. 83, 2018)

“The author does a great job of developing the historical, philosophical, and practical aspects of Construct Validity Theory. This book will give the reader a more substantial basis for understanding the importance of psychological testing and how to better use these important tools. The text is written at a level that would be accessible to professionals, graduate students, and even advanced undergraduates. I would certainly use this book as supplemental reading to my course in psychological assessment.” (Karl N. Kelley, PsycCRITIQUES, Vol. 62 (51), December, 2017)​

“In this work, Kathleen Slaney uses careful historical scholarship and penetrating conceptual analysis to bring desperately needed clarity to the treatment of an often-invoked but poorly understood topic in psychological research, the notion of construct validity. The work is essential reading for anyone aspiring to command of this topic.” (James T. Lamiell, Ph.D. Professor of Psychology, Georgetown University, USA)