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J Pers Assess. 2016;98(3):223-37. doi: 10.1080/00223891.2015.1089249. Epub 2015 Oct 29.

Applying Bifactor Statistical Indices in the Evaluation of Psychological Measures.

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a Department of Psychology , University of California , Los Angeles.
b Department of Psychiatry , Loma Linda University.


The purpose of this study was to apply a set of rarely reported psychometric indices that, nevertheless, are important to consider when evaluating psychological measures. All can be derived from a standardized loading matrix in a confirmatory bifactor model: omega reliability coefficients, factor determinacy, construct replicability, explained common variance, and percentage of uncontaminated correlations. We calculated these indices and extended the findings of 50 recent bifactor model estimation studies published in psychopathology, personality, and assessment journals. These bifactor derived indices (most not presented in the articles) provided a clearer and more complete picture of the psychometric properties of the assessment instruments. We reached 2 firm conclusions. First, although all measures had been tagged "multidimensional," unit-weighted total scores overwhelmingly reflected variance due to a single latent variable. Second, unit-weighted subscale scores often have ambiguous interpretations because their variance mostly reflects the general, not the specific, trait. Finally, we review the implications of our evaluations and consider the limits of inferences drawn from a bifactor modeling approach.



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