skip to main content skip to footer

An Empirical Evaluation of Factor Reliability

Jackson, Douglas N.; Morf, Martin E.
Publication Year:
Report Number:
ETS Research Bulletin
Document Type:
Page Count:
Subject/Key Words:
Canada Council, National Institute of Mental Health, Ontario Mental Health Foundation, Factor Analysis, Generalization, Psychometrics


The psychometric reliability of a factor, defined as its generalizability across samples drawn from the same population of tests, is considered as a necessary precondition for the scientific meaningfulness of factor analytic results. A solution to the problem of generalizability is illustrated empirically on data from a set of tests designed to measure facets of response styles and of personality dimensions. Parallel sets of measures based on personality scales defining each of seven factors were separately factored. Independent sets of component scores derived from the orthogonal least squres fit to the oblique factor pattern matrix were computed, and these component scores were intercorrelated between the two sets, yielding actor reliabilities, whose values ranged from .65 to .85. A corresponding analysis based on scores derived from random binary data yielded nonsignificant factor reliabilities ranging from -.12 to +.07. It was recommended that such a test of factor generalizability be incorporated routinely into factor analytic investigations, particularly those employing Procrustes-type rotations. (Author/AG) (34pp.)

Read More