Neglect the Structure of Multitrait-Multimethod Data at Your Peril: Implications for Associations With External Variables

Laura Castro-Schilo, Keith F. Widaman, Kevin J. Grimm

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

9 Scopus citations

Abstract

In 1959, Campbell and Fiske introduced the use of multitrait-multimethod (MTMM) matrices in psychology, and for the past 4 decades confirmatory factor analysis (CFA) has commonly been used to analyze MTMM data. However, researchers do not always fit CFA models when MTMM data are available; when CFA modeling is used, multiple models are available that have attendant strengths and weaknesses. In this article, we used a Monte Carlo simulation to investigate the drawbacks of either using CFA models that fail to match the data-generating model or completely ignore the MTMM structure of data when the research goal is to uncover associations between trait constructs and external variables. We then used data from the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development Study of Early Child Care and Youth Development to illustrate the substantive implications of fitting models that partially or completely ignore MTMM data structures. Results from analyses of both simulated and empirical data show noticeable biases when the MTMM data structure is partially or completely neglected.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)181-207
Number of pages27
JournalStructural Equation Modeling
Volume20
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Apr 1 2013
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • confirmatory factor analysis
  • construct validity
  • multitrait-multimethod data
  • structural equation modeling

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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

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