With small to modest sample sizes and complex models, maximum likelihood (ML) estimation of confirmatory factor analysis (CFA) models can show serious estimation problems such as non-convergence or parameter estimates outside the admissible parameter space. In this article, we distinguish different Bayesian estimators that can be used to stabilize the parameter estimates of a CFA: the mode of the joint posterior distribution that is obtained from penalized maximum likelihood (PML) estimation, and the mean (EAP), median (Med), or mode (MAP) of the marginal posterior distribution that are calculated by using Markov Chain Monte Carlo (MCMC) methods. In two simulation studies, we evaluated the performance of the Bayesian estimators from a frequentist point of view. The results show that the EAP produced more accurate estimates of the latent correlation in many conditions and outperformed the other Bayesian estimators in terms of root mean squared error (RMSE). We also argue that it is often advantageous to choose a parameterization in which the main parameters of interest are bounded, and we suggest the four-parameter beta distribution as a prior distribution for loadings and correlations. Using simulated data, we show that selecting weakly informative four-parameter beta priors can further stabilize parameter estimates, even in cases when the priors were mildly misspecified. Finally, we derive recommendations and propose directions for further research.
ZeitschriftFrontiers in Psychology
PublikationsstatusVeröffentlicht - 29.04.2021
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  • Methodenforschung und -entwicklung

ID: 1598148