Testing Factorial Invariance With Unbalanced Samples


In testing the factorial invariance of a measure across groups, the groups are often of different sizes. Large imbalances in group size might affect the results of factorial invariance studies and lead to incorrect conclusions of invariance because the fit function in multiple-group factor analysis includes a weighting by group sample size. The implication is that violations of invariance might not be detected if the sample sizes of the 2 groups are severely unbalanced. In this study, we examined the effects of group size differences on results of factorial invariance tests, proposed a subsampling method to address unbalanced sample size issue in factorial invariance studies, and evaluated the proposed approach in various simulation conditions. Our findings confirm that violations of invariance might be masked in the case of severely unbalanced group size conditions and support the use of the proposed subsampling method to obtain accurate results for invariance studies.

In Structural Equation Modeling: A Multidisciplinary Journal
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