Measurement bias detection through Bayesian factor analysis

Barendse, M. T., Albers, C. J., Oort, F. J., & Timmerman, M. E. (2014). Measurement bias detection through Bayesian factor analysis. Frontiers in Psychology, 5: 1087. doi:10.3389/fpsyg.2014.01087.
Measurement bias has been defined as a violation of measurement invariance. Potential violators—variables that possibly violate measurement invariance—can be investigated through restricted factor analysis (RFA). The purpose of the present paper is to investigate a Bayesian approach to estimate RFA models with interaction effects, in order to detect uniform and nonuniform measurement bias. Because modeling nonuniform bias requires an interaction term, it is more complicated than modeling uniform bias. The Bayesian approach seems especially suited for such complex models. In a simulation study we vary the type of bias (uniform, nonuniform), the type of violator (observed continuous, observed dichotomous, latent continuous), and the correlation between the trait and the violator (0.0, 0.5). For each condition, 100 sets of data are generated and analyzed. We examine the accuracy of the parameter estimates and the performance of two bias detection procedures, based on the DIC fit statistic, in Bayesian RFA. Results show that the accuracy of the estimated parameters is satisfactory. Bias detection rates are high in all conditions with an observed violator, and still satisfactory in all other conditions.
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