, Volume 83, Issue 2, pp 443–452 | Cite as

Unidimensional factor models imply weaker partial correlations than zero-order correlations

  • Riet van BorkEmail author
  • Raoul P. P. P. Grasman
  • Lourens J. Waldorp


In this paper we present a new implication of the unidimensional factor model. We prove that the partial correlation between two observed variables that load on one factor given any subset of other observed variables that load on this factor lies between zero and the zero-order correlation between these two observed variables. We implement this result in an empirical bootstrap test that rejects the unidimensional factor model when partial correlations are identified that are either stronger than the zero-order correlation or have a different sign than the zero-order correlation. We demonstrate the use of the test in an empirical data example with data consisting of fourteen items that measure extraversion.


factor models partial correlations zero-order correlations 



Funding was provided by European Research Council (Career Integration Grant) (Grand No 631145) and European Research Council (Consolidator Grant) (Grand No 647209).

Supplementary material

11336_2018_9607_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (311 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (pdf 311 KB)


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Copyright information

© The Psychometric Society 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Psychological MethodsUniversity of AmsterdamAmsterdamThe Netherlands

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