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Exploratory bi-factor analysis (EBFA) is a very popular approach to estimate models where specific factors are concomitant to a single, general dimension. However, the models typically encountered in fields like personality, intelligence, and psychopathology involve more than one general factor. To address this circumstance, we developed an algorithm (GSLiD) based on partially specified targets to perform exploratory bi-factor analysis with multiple general factors (EBFA-MGF). In EBFA-MGF, researchers do not need to conduct independent bi-factor analyses anymore because several bi-factor models are estimated simultaneously in an exploratory manner, guarding against biased estimates and model misspecification errors due to unexpected cross-loadings and factor correlations. The results from an exhaustive Monte Carlo simulation manipulating nine variables of interest suggested that GSLiD outperforms the Schmid-Leiman approximation and is robust to challenging conditions involving cross-loadings and pure items of the general factors. Thereby, we supply an R package (bifactor) to make EBFA-MGF readily available for substantive research. Finally, we use GSLiD to assess the hierarchical structure of a reduced version of the Personality Inventory for DSM-5 Short Form (PID-5-SF).

Citation

Marcos Jiménez, Francisco J Abad, Eduardo Garcia-Garzon, Luis Eduardo Garrido. Exploratory Bi-factor Analysis with Multiple General Factors. Multivariate behavioral research. 2023 Nov-Dec;58(6):1072-1089

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PMID: 37038725

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