, Volume 48, Issue 4, pp 493–517 | Cite as

Some contributions to efficient statistics in structural models: Specification and estimation of moment structures

  • P. M. Bentler


Current practice in structural modeling of observed continuous random variables is limited to representation systems for first and second moments (e.g., means and covariances), and to distribution theory based on multivariate normality. In psychometrics the multinormality assumption is often incorrect, so that statistical tests on parameters, or model goodness of fit, will frequently be incorrect as well. It is shown that higher order product moments yield important structural information when the distribution of variables is arbitrary. Structural representations are developed for generalizations of the Bentler-Weeks, Jöreskog-Keesling-Wiley, and factor analytic models. Some asymptotically distribution-free efficient estimators for such arbitrary structural models are developed. Limited information estimators are obtained as well. The special case of elliptical distributions that allow nonzero but equal kurtoses for variables is discussed in some detail. The argument is made that multivariate normal theory for covariance structure models should be abandoned in favor of elliptical theory, which is only slightly more difficult to apply in practice but specializes to the traditional case when normality holds. Many open research areas are described.

Key words

structural equations covariance structures moment structures errors in variables factor analysis minimum chi square generalized least squares elliptical distributions asymptotically distribution free 


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© The Psychometric Society 1983

Authors and Affiliations

  • P. M. Bentler
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Psychology, Franz HallUniversity of California, Los AngelesLos AngelesUSA

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