Structural equation models and personality research


  • This research was partially supported by NSF Grant BNS 8406809 to the first author

Address reprint requests to Charles M Judd, Department of Psychology, University of Colorado, Boulder, CO 80309-0345


This article is a nontechnical introduction to the use of structural equation models in personality research Although such models can be fruitfully used to address a variety of important theoretical issues, the substantive focus in this article is on the use of such models for elucidating the construct validity of personality measures We include numerous more specific topics under our treatment of construct validity First of all, we show how structural equation models can be applied to the issues of convergent and discriminant validity Do our variables measure the constructs we want them to measure and not other constructs that we would prefer not to measure? Second, we show the utility of structural equation models for predictive validity Do our variables reliably predict other constructs with which they are theoretically linked? Finally, we examine the stability of personality constructs through structural equation models Through-out, our emphasis is on the particular advantages that structural equation models bring to these analytic tasks Ultimately, such models must be used in the service of theory, and when used appropriately, they can help us to refine both our measures and our theories of individual differences