Structural equation modeling in pediatric psychology: overview and review of applications

J Pediatr Psychol. 2008 Aug;33(7):679-87. doi: 10.1093/jpepsy/jsm107. Epub 2007 Oct 31.


Objective: To describe the use of structural equation modeling (SEM) in the Journal of Pediatric Psychology (JPP) and to discuss the usefulness of SEM applications in pediatric psychology research.

Method: The use of SEM in JPP between 1997 and 2006 was examined and compared to leading journals in clinical psychology, clinical child psychology, and child development.

Results: SEM techniques were used in <4% of the empirical articles appearing in JPP between 1997 and 2006. SEM was used less frequently in JPP than in other clinically relevant journals over the past 10 years. However, results indicated a recent increase in JPP studies employing SEM techniques.

Conclusions: SEM is an under-utilized class of techniques within pediatric psychology research, although investigations employing these methods are becoming more prevalent. Despite its infrequent use to date, SEM is a potentially useful tool for advancing pediatric psychology research with a number of advantages over traditional statistical methods.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Bibliometrics
  • Child
  • Humans
  • Models, Statistical
  • Psychology, Child / statistics & numerical data*
  • Research / statistics & numerical data
  • Research Design