Publication details

Unifying Account of Spurious Dimensionality in Psychological Questionnaires

Investor logo

REČKA Karel ELEK David

Year of publication 2024
Type Appeared in Conference without Proceedings
MU Faculty or unit

Faculty of Social Studies

Attached files
Description Psychological questionnaires, often designed to measure latent constructs, frequently exhibit spurious multidimensionality, particularly when incorporating a mix of regular and reversed items. Existing explanations attribute this multidimensionality to construct-irrelevant factors (such as) or consider it a spurious outcome resulting from imperfections of the measurement model. This presentation focuses on the phenomenon of spurious multidimensionality, a unifying account of why it can arise. We posit that a primary cause of spurious dimensionality lies in an incorrectly specified item response function, where the empirical and model-implied relationships between a latent variable and its indicators differ. Then, when multiple items share a similar pattern of these discrepancies (residuals), a unidimensional model will not fit the data, necessitating the introduction of additional factors to account for the residual relationships between items. An empirical study supported our predictions. Items exhibiting a shared pattern of residuals tended to form an additional factor. Importantly, this factor still contained construct-relevant variance. Consequently, our findings underscore the importance of scrutinizing whether the relationship between a latent variable and its indicators is modeled correctly to avoid spurious multidimensionality. Otherwise, there is always a risk that spurious factors will be interpreted substantively.
Related projects:

You are running an old browser version. We recommend updating your browser to its latest version.

More info