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Re: st: Factor Analysis with ordinal and binary variables

From   Robert A Yaffee <>
Subject   Re: st: Factor Analysis with ordinal and binary variables
Date   Tue, 02 Jun 2009 15:32:23 -0400

   Karl Joreskog and Dag Sorbom
analyzed the problem back in the 1980s and found
that you could use polyserial and polychoric correlations
for a factor analysis of dichotomous or ordinal variables.
If the ordinal variables have at least 15 levels they can
be treated as continuous.
    They have incorporated this finding in their program for
structural equation modeling.
       Bob Yaffee

Bengt Muthen may have also written
on this subject in the 1980s or early 1990s.

Robert A. Yaffee, Ph.D.
Research Professor
Silver School of Social Work
New York University

NSF grant:


----- Original Message -----
From: "" <>
Date: Tuesday, June 2, 2009 7:51 am
Subject: st: Factor Analysis with ordinal and binary variables

> Hello,
> I have question concerning factor analysis on variables with different
> measurement levels.
> The questionnaire consists of binary and ordinal variables. If I would
> have just binary variables, I would use the tetrachoric correlation
> coefficients. For the ordinal I assume approx. normality and then use
> the ordinary factor analysis capability.
> But what do I do when I have both variables? Is it an option to
> construct the variance-covariance matrix by  hand? And what do I take
> for the correlation between binary and ordinal?
> Maybe is there a model class which takes care of that, that yields
> similar outcomes as factor analysis but can deal with such kind of
> data (e.g. correspondence analysis).
> I am grateful for every hint.
> Best,
> Stefan
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