TY - JOUR

T1 - Testing structural equation models or detection of misspecifications?

AU - Saris, Willem Egbert

AU - Satorra Brucart, Albert

AU - Van der Veld, William M.

PY - 2009/10/1

Y1 - 2009/10/1

N2 - Assessing the correctness of a structural equation model is essential to avoid drawing incorrect conclusions from empirical research. In the past, the chi-square test was recommended for assessing the correctness of the model but this test has been criticised because of its sensitivity to sample size. As a reaction, an abundance of fit indexes have been developed. The result of these developments is that structural equation modelling packages are now producing a large list of fit measures. One would think that this progression has led to a clear understanding of evaluating models with respect to model misspecifications. In this article we question the validity of approaches for model evaluation based on overall goodness-of-fit indexes. The argument against such usage is that they do not provide an adequate indication of the 'size' of the model's misspecification. That is, they vary dramatically with the values of incidental parameters that are unrelated with the misspecification in the model. This is illustrated using simple but fundamental models. As an alternative method of model evaluation, we suggest using the expected parameter change in combination with the modification index (MI) and the power of the MI test.

AB - Assessing the correctness of a structural equation model is essential to avoid drawing incorrect conclusions from empirical research. In the past, the chi-square test was recommended for assessing the correctness of the model but this test has been criticised because of its sensitivity to sample size. As a reaction, an abundance of fit indexes have been developed. The result of these developments is that structural equation modelling packages are now producing a large list of fit measures. One would think that this progression has led to a clear understanding of evaluating models with respect to model misspecifications. In this article we question the validity of approaches for model evaluation based on overall goodness-of-fit indexes. The argument against such usage is that they do not provide an adequate indication of the 'size' of the model's misspecification. That is, they vary dramatically with the values of incidental parameters that are unrelated with the misspecification in the model. This is illustrated using simple but fundamental models. As an alternative method of model evaluation, we suggest using the expected parameter change in combination with the modification index (MI) and the power of the MI test.

M3 - Article

SN - 1070-5511

VL - 16

SP - 561

EP - 582

JO - Structural Equation Modeling: A Multidisciplinary Journal

JF - Structural Equation Modeling: A Multidisciplinary Journal

ER -