A note on structural equation modeling estimates of reliability

Yanyun Yang, Samuel B. Green

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

86 Scopus citations


Reliability can be estimated using structural equation modeling (SEM). Two potential problems with this approach are that estimates may be unstable with small sample sizes and biased with misspecified models. A Monte Carlo study was conducted to investigate the quality of SEM estimates of reliability by themselves and relative to coefficient alpha. The SEM approach showed minimal bias when the model was correctly specified if items were relatively well defined by their underlying factor(s). They tended to demonstrate somewhat greater bias when the model was misspecified, particularly underspecified.Overall, SEMestimates were more stable than anticipated. Researchers are more likely to obtain accurate estimates of reliability using SEM by conducting large-sample studies with well-constructed scales and critically assessing model fit.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)66-81
Number of pages16
JournalStructural Equation Modeling
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2010

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Decision Sciences
  • Modeling and Simulation
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Economics, Econometrics and Finance(all)


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