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Book review


help his readers make money he should have discussed ways of making investments (betting on shares) which over the years have outperformed conventional savings methods. The book starts with the contentious statement that ‘ you (the reader?) apply probability to almost every conscious decision you make’ . This overvalues probability theory and supposes that people use probabilities just because they have to cope with uncertainties. One can infer that Haigh does not actually believe this because he chooses to apply probability to im proving players’ perform ances only in games of chance where an urn model analogy is good. W ith other games the topics discussed are those that are most amenable to probability analyses, rather than those which are most likely to help players win. Thus in soccer the main practical advice concerns when to commit a red card offence. Sim ilar comments could be made about the sections on squash, golf and cricket. What Haigh shows is that probabilistic analyses of games of chance can produce interesting and at times counter-intuitive results which may im prove the reader’ s standard of play. However, if his readers really want to become winners they should ensure that their outcomes depend on m ore than just chance.

RANALD R. MACDONA LD (University of Stirling)

Statistical software for microcomputers:

AMOS 4.0

Editor’s corner

This issue contains a review of AMOS 4.0, one of several sophisticated packages speci cally designed for structural equation m odelling, path analysis, and con rmatory factor analysis methodologies. There has been a steady increase in the use of these techniques in psychology in recent years, and AMOS 4.0 is a popular contender with a heavy em phasis on diagrams to input proposed models and output nal solutions.

DIANA KORNBROT (University of Hertfordshire ; d.e.kornbrot@her

AMOS v 4.0

Written by James Arbuckle, AMOS (Analysis of

incarnations since 1989. Originally it was available as a simple and cheap program for the analysis of structural equation models (SEMs). AMOS 4.0 has expanded into a more commercial venture and is now also available as an add-on module for SPSS. It is quite different to other programs designed for carrying out SEM analysis and some changes have been made from earlier versions of AMOS.

Mom ent Structures) has

been around in various

Model input

Users who are familiar with other SEM programs will immediately see that the standard AMOS 4.0 method of inputting a m odel is not via syntax or menu com mands, but via a path diagram. (Inputting via the syntax language, AMOSBasi c, is also possible.) W hilst recent versions of some other programs include the capability of building a m odel via a path diagram or menu commands; in these programs the menu or path diagram builds syntax, which can be edited, and then executed. In AMOS 4.0, there is no


Statistical software for microcomputers

interm ediary syntax; the path diagram is the representation of the m odel that is used. The additional options for the analysis are entered into an ‘ Analysis properties’ dialog box (this has replaced most of the old ‘ $’ commands from earlier versions of AMOS). The model is input via what is, effectively, an object oriented drawing package. This part of the program includes many features to ensure that the path diagram you end up with is ready for publication. Variables can automatically be resized and shaped, and evenly spaced. The touch-up com mand (represented by a m agic wand icon) makes everything look neat and tidy around a variable. All of the input features are very smooth — the program has the ‘ look and feel’ of a native Windows program, rather than a program written for som e other OS and then ported to W indows. Detailed feedback appears in the window whilst the model is running, to tell the user how far it has progressed. Users of other program s will nd this more useful than the moving blue bar in LISREL, or the DOS window in Mx or EQS. Drag and drop facilities have been added to m any features. For example, when a data le has been imported, the variables appear in a oating window and are dragged onto the path diagram , where they appear in a rectangular box. Other features are added to the model by means of icons contained within a oating toolbox. Clicking on these icons either brings up an appropriate dialog box, or changes the cursor to allow modi cation of the model. The toolbox is much the same as in previous versions, although it is now in colour. Users of previous versions will probably be pleased to know that the Truck icon (used to move part of a model) and the Photocopier icon (used, of course, to reproduce part of a model) are still retained, although the pencil eraser has been replaced with a rather plain cross. The m odel manager is a new addition to AMOS 4.0, which improves the ability to specify and analyse alternative models. A standard procedure within SEM analysis is to specify a model based on a basic model with the fewest number of restrictions, and then to increase the restrictions on the model, in an attempt to nd the best model, in term s of both parsim ony and goodness of t. The more restricted models are compared with each other, and the original m odels, by com parison of t indices, and by means of x 2 difference tests, to see if the restrictions lead to a signi cantly worse model t. Using the model manager, the least restrictive model is speci ed in the path diagram and more restrictive models are then built up in the model manager by adding parameter constraints. W hen a new model is added, it is named and then the restrictions can be added by double clicking on param eters contained in the basic model. In the output, t statistics for each m odel are given. In addition, each new model is then tested against the basic model, using a x 2 difference test. W hen later models are nested within earlier models, a x 2 difference test is also carried out to compare models. Path diagram model input has a m uch less steep learning curve than syntax based model input, particularly the original LISREL style matrix speci cation. This advantage does not come for free, it must be paid for when the user becom es more experienced, in terms of tim e. Experienced LISREL users can happily type a few (incomprehensib le to the uninitiated) commands that can specify a large number of parameters. W hen a path diagram model input method is used (in any program) the task becom es much more long winded. In AMOS 4.0 the task of drawing the path diagram is made much easier with the use of built-in macros, which can do many of the jobs. These m acros automate tasks such as naming parameters, naming unobserved variables, adding covariances and drawing a growth curve model.

Model output

All of the standard t indices are produced in the output, with the addition of the Bayes Inform ation Criterion, which is easily calculated by hand, but seldom included in SEM programs. Each t index is also calculated for the null and saturated m odel, and displayed in a matrix format (models represented in the rows, t indices in the columns). If the model manager was used to specify multiple nested models then these models are also included, along with the x 2 difference, d.f. and associated probabilities.

The output options include parameter estimates, standardized parameter estimates, sample, residual and implied covariance m atrices and indirect, direct and total effects. Model diagnostics are provided in

the form of m odi cation indices. The output also optionally includes

skew and kurtosis statistics and a multivariate kurtosis statistic. Additionally factor score weights are provided and it is possible to obtain a critical ratio test for the difference between each pair of parameter estimates.

Mahalanobis distances, univariate

Statistical software for microcomputers


The output from the model can be viewed in three different formats. The text le format is very similar to the standard output from m ost statistics packages. Users of SEM programs are accustomed to pressing ‘ p’ to view output. Usefully the document does not open by default at the beginning of the le, but instead opens at the t indices— from there one can scroll up or down, to further examine the analyses. The path diagram format generates a diagram, with parameter estimates appearing auto- matically and t indices appearing on request. Finally, the spreadsheet option produces everything that was contained in the text output, but organized into a series of tables. The tables are navigated by selecting options from the left-hand side of the window. This spreadsheet approach is a useful way to examine the output — it is quick and easy to move around the different parts of the output and to compare different models or groups. It also facilitates the task of m oving output from AMOS to another program to convert into a document or presentation.


It was possible in earlier versions of AMOS to enter models through syntax. This aspect of AMOS has been completely overhauled with the inclusion of the ability to write macros and syntax in AMOSBas ic (based on SaxBasic, the language that provides the scripting language in SPSS). This scripting language can be used to input a whole model, or to input or m odify parts of a model, as was described under model input. Instead of using the built in scripting language it is also possible to use other Windows programm ing languages (such as Visual Basic, Fortran, Delphi or SAS) as a front-end to the AMOS engine. AMOS 4.0 has two features that make it stand out from the crown in terms of SEM packages — its bootstrapping capabilities and its treatment of m issing data. Since its inception just over 20 years ago, bootstrapping has become more and more com mon in statistical analysis, and more statistics programs are starting to incorporate bootstrap analyses as an option. AMOS 4.0 contains a range of features to make bootstrap analysis a relatively sim ple task to carry out. Bootstrapping is autom atically carried out, and bootstrap con dence intervals are calculated, using either percentiles or bias corrected percentiles. Bollen and Stine (1992) demonstrated x 2 values m ay be incorrect when bootstrapping is used, and they proposed a correction to x 2 for use when bootstrapping is employed. AMOS automatically carries out the Bollen – Stine bootstrap correction to a bootstrapped x 2 . One nal feature of the AMOS bootstrap procedure is the use of a parametric bootstrap — in which the sam ple parameters are treated as population param eters, and further samples are generated from a m ultivariate normal population. To the SEM novice this may seem like a peculiar procedure to want to carry out — the bootstrap is primarily em ployed for data that violate distributional assumptions, so why are we generating parametric data? This is done for two reasons. First because the distribution of a parameter, even under multivariate norm ality, may not be known, and using this method it is possible to calculate standard errors and con dence intervals (this is the case for many of the commonly used t indices). Second, because even if the distribution is known, or could be calculated, AMOS 4.0 may not incorporate the formula to carry out the calculation. The second feature of AMOS is its ability to deal with missing data. Most programs deal with missing data using listwise deletion, pairwise deletion, or som e sort of substitution (either with m eans, or predicted values via regression or imputation). AMOS uses a full information m axim um likelihood (FIML) procedure. This technique provides consistent and unbiased parameter estimates under conditions of missing data, even when the m issing data are not missing at random.

Other comments

The program installed and ran with no problems arising on the test computer (450 MHz AMD processor, with 64MB RAM). The speed of the analysis and particularly the bootstrap replications is impressive — I tted a saturated model, containing variances and covariances only, to an SPSS le containing 5 variables and 474 cases — the total tim e to generate and calculate 1000 bootstrap sam ples for this model was a little over 8 seconds. AMOS does not contain all of the features that are available in recent versions of other programs for SEM analysis. The most obvious omissions are polychoric correlations, or some other approach for


Statistical software for microcomputers

dealing with ordered categorical data, and the scaled x 2 for dealing with non-normality. Also unavailable, but less likely to be missed, are likelihood-ratio based standard errors and non-linear equality constraints. Overall AMOS is an excellent program, both user-friendly and technically advanced. It will meet most needs that researchers using SEM are likely to encounter, and makes applying these techniques a less arduous task, especially for a those just starting out with SEM.

JEREMY MILES (Derby University, j.n.v.miles@derby


Arbuckle, J. L. (1996). Full information estimation in the presence of incomplete data. In G. A.

Marcoulides & R. E. Schumacker (Eds.), Advanced structural equation modeling: Issues and

techniques. Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum. Bollen, K. A., & Stine, R. A. (1992). Bootstrapping goodness-of- t measures in structural equation

m odels. Sociological Methods and Research, 21, 205 229.


AM OS v4.0 is available in the UK from SPSS UK Ltd., St. Andrew’ s House, W est Street, Woking,

Surrey GU21 1EB, UK (http:/ / or and in the USA also from Small-


The single user UK price is £ 545 for commercial users and £ 395 for higher education users. In the UK there is also a CHEST agreement with £ 700 annual site license fee, or £ 345 for rst use for a single user and £ 95 for subsequent years. As with most packages, AMOS 4.0 is cheaper from US suppliers.

Corp. (http:/ / www.smallw ).


Many thanks to SPSS UK Ltd., who kindly supplied AMOS 4.0.