Evaluating estimation methods for ordinal data in structural equation modeling

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127 Scopus citations


This study examined the performance of two alternative estimation approaches in structural equation modeling for ordinal data under different levels of model misspecification, score skewness, sample size, and model size. Both approaches involve analyzing a polychoric correlation matrix as well as adjusting standard error estimates and model chi-squared, but one estimates model parameters with maximum likelihood and the other with robust weighted least-squared. Relative bias in parameter estimates and standard error estimates, Type I error rate, and empirical power of the model test, where appropriate, were evaluated through Monte Carlo simulations. These alternative approaches generally provided unbiased parameter estimates when the model was correctly specified. They also provided unbiased standard error estimates and adequate Type I error control in general unless sample size was small and the measured variables were moderately skewed. Differences between the methods in convergence problems and the evaluation criteria, especially under small sample and skewed variable conditions, were discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)495-507
Number of pages13
JournalQuality and Quantity
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 1 2009

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Statistics and Probability
  • General Social Sciences


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