Commentary on coefficient alpha: A cautionary tale

Samuel B. Green, Yanyun Yang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

208 Scopus citations


The general use of coefficient alpha to assess reliability should be discouraged on a number of grounds. The assumptions underlying coefficient alpha are unlikely to hold in practice, and violation of these assumptions can result in nontrivial negative or positive bias. Structural equation modeling was discussed as an informative process both to assess the assumptions underlying coefficient alpha and to estimate reliability

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)121-135
Number of pages15
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 1 2009


  • Coefficient alpha
  • Reliability
  • Structural equation modeling
  • Violation of assumptions

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychology(all)
  • Applied Mathematics


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