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Psychol Bull. 1993 Jul;114(1):185-99.

The problem of equivalent models in applications of covariance structure analysis.

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Department of Psychology, Ohio State University, Columbus 43210.


For any given covariance structure model, there will often be alternative models that are indistinguishable from the original model in terms of goodness of fit to data. The existence of such equivalent models is almost universally ignored in empirical studies. A study of 53 published applications showed that equivalent models exist routinely, often in large numbers. Detailed study of three applications showed that equivalent models may often offer substantively meaningful alternative explanations of data. The importance of the equivalent model phenomenon and recommendations for managing and confronting the problem in practice are discussed.

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