Factor analysis is one of the most important statistical tools for analyzing multivariate data (i.e., items) in the social sciences. An essential case is the comparison of multiple groups on a one-dimensional factor variable that can be interpreted as a summary of the items. The assumption of measurement invariance is a frequently employed assumption that enables the comparison of the factor variable across groups. This article discusses different estimation methods of the multiple-group one-dimensional factor model under violations of measurement invariance (i.e., measurement noninvariance). In detail, joint estimation, linking methods, and regularized estimation approaches are treated. It is argued that linking approaches and regularization approaches can be equivalent to joint estimation approaches if appropriate (robust) loss functions are employed. Each of the estimation approaches defines identification constraints of parameters that quantify violations of measurement invariance. We argue in the discussion section that the fitted multiple-group one-dimensional factor analysis will likely be misspecified due to the violation of measurement invariance. Hence, because there is always indeterminacy in determining group comparisons of the factor variable under noninvariance, the preference of particular fitting strategies such as partial invariance over alternatives is unjustified. In contrast, researchers purposely define fitting functions that minimize the extent of model misspecification due to the choice of a particular (robust) loss function.
Original languageEnglish
Article number119
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 09.03.2022
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    Research areas

  • Methodological research and method development - multiple groups, confirmatory factor analysis, measurement invariance, one-dimensional factor model, loss function, misspecification, linking, regularization, structural equation modeling, robust estimation, noninvariance

ID: 1827767