Volume 4, Issue 1 p. 10-18

Factorial Invariance Within Longitudinal Structural Equation Models: Measuring the Same Construct Across Time

Keith F. Widaman

Keith F. Widaman

University of California at Davis

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Emilio Ferrer

Emilio Ferrer

University of California at Davis

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Rand D. Conger

Rand D. Conger

University of California at Davis

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First published: 11 March 2010
Citations: 510
concerning this article should be addressed to Keith F. Widaman, Department of Psychology, University of California, One Shields Avenue, Davis, CA 95616; e-mail: [email protected].

This research was partially supported by grants from the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, the National Institute on Drug Abuse, and the National Institute of Mental Health (HD047573, HD051746, MH051361, and DA017092; Rand Conger, PI) and by grants from the National Science Foundation (BCS-05-27766) and from NIH-NINDS (R01 NS057146-01; Emilio Ferrer, PI).

Abstract

Abstract— Charting change in behavior as a function of age and investigating longitudinal relations among constructs are primary goals of developmental research. Traditionally, researchers rely on a single measure (e.g., scale score) for a given construct for each person at each occasion of measurement, assuming that measure reflects the same construct at each occasion. With multiple indicators of a latent construct at each time of measurement, the researcher can evaluate whether factorial invariance holds. If factorial invariance constraints are satisfied, latent variable scores at each time of measurement are on the same metric and stronger conclusions are warranted. This article discusses factorial invariance in longitudinal studies, contrasting analytic approaches and highlighting strengths of the multiple-indicator approach to modeling developmental processes.