chapter  11
18 Pages

A Simulation Paradigm for Evaluating Approximate Fit

WithRoger E. Millsap

In preparation for the 2010 conference held in honor of Michael Browne, I checked online to find out which paper is most often cited from among the many contributions he has made to the quantitative methods literature. I was initially surprised at the result: The chapter Browne and Cudeck (1993) had well over 6,000 citations. This book chapter describes the properties of the root mean square error of approximation (RMSEA) fit index, gives advice on how the index might be used, and illustrates its use. The chapter is the source for the widely used (.05, .08) RMSEA cut-points for evaluating model fit in structural equation modeling. In retrospect, the high citation rate for this publication should not have been surprising. The number of fit indices used in structural equation modeling has multiplied, starting with the chi-square test of exact fit, and expanding to the several dozen fit indices now available in standard software. The growth in the number of fit indices has led to a corresponding growth in the demand for standards for judging model fit. If we are not going to depend solely on the chi-square test of exact fit, which indices should be used, and what values of these indices should define acceptable fit?