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

Timothy D. Nelson, Brandon S. Aylward, Ric G. Steele

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

30 Scopus citations


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.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)679-687
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of pediatric psychology
Issue number7
StatePublished - Aug 2008
Externally publishedYes


  • Pediatric psychology
  • Research methods
  • SEM
  • Structural equation modeling

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology


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