Discriminant Validity Using SPSS AMOS


The focus of the tutorial is on assessing Discriminant validity using SPSS AMOS using Fornell & Larcker Criterion and Heterotrait-Monotrait Ratio

Discriminant Validity

  • Discriminant validity or divergent validity refers to the degree to which the measures that should not be very highly correlated with each other are actually distinct.
  • Discriminant validity indicates the extent to which a given construct differs from other constructs (Anderson & Gerbing, 1988).
  • Since, there are multiple measures in a research study, the constructs shall have their own distinct identity and there shall be no overlapping. In order to statistically ascertain the individuality of the constructs, discriminant validity is addressed.

Discriminant validity in AMOS can be assessed using

  • Fornell & Larcker Criterion
  • Heterotrait-Monotrait Ratio

Each of these methods are discussed in detail.

Fornell and Larcker Criterion

  • Fornell and Larcker (1981) proposed the traditional metric and suggested that each construct’s AVE (variance within) should be compared to the inter-construct correlation (as a measure of shared variance between constructs) of that same construct and all other reflectively measured constructs model – the shared variance between all model constructs should not be larger than their AVEs.
  • In Short, Fornell and Larcker (1981) suggest that the AVE should be greater than the variance between the construct and other constructs in the model (i.e., the squared correlation between two constructs).
  • Thus, the square root of the AVE of each latent variable (LV) should be greater than its correlations with any other LV in the assessment.
  • In the sample model, there are three constructs (Authentic, Ethical, and Life Satisfaction).

Heterotrait-monotrait Ratio

  • While Fornell and Larcker’s (1981) recommendation of examining shared variance to assess discriminant validity has been extremely popular in the past, recent research has started to question how sensitive this test is in capturing discriminant validity issues between constructs (Henseler et al. 2015).
  • Subsequently, the heterotrait-monotrait ratio of correlations (HTMT) technique was offered as a better approach to determine discriminant validity between constructs.
  • The HTMT method examines the ratio of between-trait correlations to within-trait correlations of two constructs. Put another way, it examines the correlations of indicators across constructs to the correlations of indicators within a construct.
  • A modern approach to assessment of discriminant validity is Heterotrait-Monotrait (HTMT) Ratio.
  • Henseler, Ringle and Sarstedt (2015) proposed an approach based on the multitrait-multimethod matrix, to assess discriminant validity called the heterotrait-monotrait ratio of correlations (HTMT).
  • If the HTMT value is below 0.90, discriminant validity has been established between two reflective constructs.


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Collier, J. E. (2020). Applied structural equation modeling using AMOS: Basic to advanced techniques. Routledge.

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