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Open Access Research article

Assessing measurement invariance of familism and parental respect across race/ethnicity in adolescents

Jeremy NV Miles*, Regina A Shih, Joan S Tucker, Annie Zhou and Elizabeth J D’Amico

Author Affiliations

RAND Corporation, 1776 Main St, PO Box 2138, Santa Monica, CA, 90407-2138, USA

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BMC Medical Research Methodology 2012, 12:61  doi:10.1186/1471-2288-12-61

Published: 30 April 2012



Familism and parental respect are culturally derived constructs rooted in Hispanic and Asian cultures, respectively. Measures of these constructs have been utilized in research and found to predict delays in substance use initiation and reduced levels of use. However, given that these measures are explicitly designed to tap constructs that are considered important by different racial/ethnic groups, there is a risk that the measurement properties may not be equivalent across groups.


This study evaluated the measurement equivalence of measures of familism and parental respect in a large and diverse sample of middle school students in Southern California (n = 5646) using a multiple group confirmatory factor analysis approach.


Results showed little evidence of measurement variance across four racial/ethnic groups (African American, Hispanic, Asian, and non-Hispanic White), supporting the continued use of these measures in diverse populations. Some differences between latent variable means were identified – specifically that the Hispanic group and the white group differed on familism.


No evidence of invariance was found. However, the item distributions were highly positively skewed, indicating a tendency for youth to endorse the most positive response, which may reduce the reliability of the measures and suggests that refinement is possible.