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Inequalities among lower bounds to reliability: With applications to test construction and factor analysis

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Abstract

A chain of lower-bound inequalities leading to the greatest lower bound to reliability is established for the internal consistency of a composite of unit-weighted components. The chain includes the maximum split-half coefficient, the lowest coefficient consistent with nonimaginary common factors, and the lowest coefficient consistent with nonimaginary common and unique factors. Optimization theory is utilized to determine the conditions that are requisite for the inequalities. Convergence proofs demonstrate that the coefficients can be attained. Rapid algorithms obtain estimates of the coefficients with sample data. The theory yields methods for splitting items into maximally similar sets and for exploratory factor analysis based on a theoretical solution to the communality problem.

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Reference notes

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This investigation was supported in part by a Research Scientist Development Award (K02-DA00017) and a research grant (DA01070) from the U.S. Public Health Service. The manuscript profited substantially from the critiques of several anonymous reviewers, whose assistance is gratefully acknowledged.

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Bentler, P.M., Woodward, J.A. Inequalities among lower bounds to reliability: With applications to test construction and factor analysis. Psychometrika 45, 249–267 (1980). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF02294079

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