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The Normal-Theory and Asymptotic Distribution-Free (ADF) Covariance Matrix of Standardized Regression Coefficients: Theoretical Extensions and Finite Sample Behavior


Yuan and Chan (Psychometrika, 76, 670–690, 2011) recently showed how to compute the covariance matrix of standardized regression coefficients from covariances. In this paper, we describe a method for computing this covariance matrix from correlations. Next, we describe an asymptotic distribution-free (ADF; Browne in British Journal of Mathematical and Statistical Psychology, 37, 62–83, 1984) method for computing the covariance matrix of standardized regression coefficients. We show that the ADF method works well with nonnormal data in moderate-to-large samples using both simulated and real-data examples. R code (R Development Core Team, 2012) is available from the authors or through the Psychometrika online repository for supplementary materials.

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  1. 1.

    Specifically, the “textbook” standard error for \(\hat{\beta}_{j}\) is incorrect unless the population regression coefficient for variable j equals zero.

  2. 2.

    For a review of these works, see Jones and Waller (2013).

  3. 3.

    Although not pursued in this paper, it is also possible to derive our results using the Jacobian from Section 3 (see Equation (27)) and an ADF estimator of \(\operatorname{acov}(\hat{\boldsymbol{r}}_{vp})\) using population standardized fourth-order central moments; see Browne and Shapiro (1986), Hsu (1949), Isserlis (1916), and Steiger and Hakstian (1982) for details.

  4. 4.

    Note that RAMONA estimates standard errors using n−1 rather than n. We rescaled our estimates accordingly before making the comparisons.


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Correspondence to Niels G. Waller.

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Jones, J.A., Waller, N.G. The Normal-Theory and Asymptotic Distribution-Free (ADF) Covariance Matrix of Standardized Regression Coefficients: Theoretical Extensions and Finite Sample Behavior. Psychometrika 80, 365–378 (2015).

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Key words

  • standardized regression coefficients
  • multiple regression
  • ADF, confidence intervals