Prevention Science

, Volume 7, Issue 4, pp 359–368 | Cite as

Examining Equivalence of Concepts and Measures in Diverse Samples

  • Tracy W. HarachiEmail author
  • Yoonsun Choi
  • Robert D. Abbott
  • Richard F. Catalano
  • Siri L. Bliesner
Original paper


While there is growing awareness for the need to examine the etiology of problem behaviors across cultural, racial, socioeconomic, and gender groups, much research tends to assume that constructs are equivalent and that the measures developed within one group equally assess constructs across groups. The meaning of constructs, however, may differ across groups or, if similar in meaning, measures developed for a given construct in one particular group may not be assessing the same construct or may not be assessing the construct in the same manner in other groups. The aims of this paper were to demonstrate a process of testing several forms of equivalence including conceptual, functional, item, and scalar using different methods. Data were from the Cross-Cultural Families Project, a study examining factors that promote the healthy development and adjustment of children among immigrant Cambodian and Vietnamese families. The process described in this paper can be implemented in other prevention studies interested in diverse groups. Demonstrating equivalence of constructs and measures prior to group comparisons is necessary in order to lend support of our interpretation of issues such as ethnic group differences and similarities.


Equivalence Comparative research 



This investigation was supported by a grant from the Prevention Research Center at the School of Social Work (MH56599) and by a grant from the National Institute on Drug Abuse (DA012038). An earlier version of this article was presented at the Annual Meeting of the Society for Prevention Research in Montreal, Quebec, June 2000.


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Copyright information

© Society of Prevention Research 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  • Tracy W. Harachi
    • 1
    Email author
  • Yoonsun Choi
    • 2
  • Robert D. Abbott
    • 3
  • Richard F. Catalano
    • 4
  • Siri L. Bliesner
    • 5
  1. 1.Social Development Research GroupUniversity of WashingtonSeattleUSA
  2. 2.School of Social Service AdministrationUniversity of ChicagoChicagoUSA
  3. 3.College of EducationUniversity of WashingtonSeattleUSA
  4. 4.Social Development Research Group, School of Social WorkUniversity of WashingtonSeattleUSA
  5. 5.SeattleUSA

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