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Scale Development and Score Validation

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Front. Psychol. | doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2019.01139

Fusion Validity: Theory-Based Scale Assessment via Causal Structural Equation Modeling

  • 1University of Alberta, Canada

Fusion validity assessments employ structural equation models to investigate whether an existing scale functions in accordance with theory. Fusion validity parallels criterion validity by depending on correlations with non-scale variables but differs from criterion validity because it requires at least one theorized effect of the scale, and because both the scale and scaled-items are included in the model.

Fusion validity, like construct validity, will be most informative if the scale is embedded in as full a substantive context as theory permits. Appropriate scale functioning in a comprehensive theoretical context greatly enhances a scale’s validity. Inappropriate scale functioning questions the scale but the scale’s theoretical embedding encourages detailed diagnostic investigations potentially challenging specific items, the procedure used to calculate scale values, or aspects of the theory, but also possibly recommends incorporating additional items into the scale.

The scaled items should have survived prior content and methodological assessments but the items may or may not reflect a common factor because items having diverse causal backgrounds can sometimes fuse to form a unidimensional entity. Though items reflecting a common cause can be assessed for fusion validity, we illustrate fusion validity in the more challenging context of a scale comprised of diverse items and embedded in a complicated theory. Specifically we consider the Leadership scale from the Alberta Context Tool with care aides working in Canadian long-term care homes.

Keywords: Fusion, scale, validity, Structural equation, Causal

Received: 10 Dec 2018; Accepted: 30 Apr 2019.

Edited by:

N. C. Silver, University of Nevada, Las Vegas, United States

Reviewed by:

Lietta M. Scott, Arizona Department of Education, United States
Cameron N. McIntosh, Public Safety Canada, Canada  

Copyright: © 2019 Hayduk, Estabrooks and Hoben. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

* Correspondence: Prof. Leslie A. Hayduk, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Canada, lhayduk@ualberta.ca