Controlling Correlational Bias via Confirmatory Factor Analysis of MTMM Data

John W. Graham, Nancy L. Collins

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Scopus citations


Confirmatory factor analysis of multitrait-multimethod (MTMM) data has proven to be a useful tool for assessing convergent and discriminant validity. However, researchers have not made full use of the results of MTMM analyses in examining the relationship between MTMM factors and variables outside the MTMM. Often, researchers simply average the various measures of each trait. Alternatively, they estimate LISREL MTMM models, but estimate only relationships between MTMM traits and the outside variables. In the present article, we show that these two approaches to analyzing data outside the MTMM produce equally highly biased parameter estimates when the actual correlations between MTMM method factors and the outside variables are substantial. An algebraic explanation and a simulated data illustration are given for the bias due to misspecification. Also, the problem is illustrated with a brief empirical example. Implications for applied research are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)607-629
Number of pages23
JournalMultivariate Behavioral Research
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 1 1991

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Statistics and Probability
  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)


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