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Integrating covariates into social relations models: A plausible values approach for handling measurement error in perceiver and target effects
Lüdtke, O., Robitzsch, A., Trautwein, U.

Integrating covariates into social relations models: A plausible values approach for handling measurement error in perceiver and target effects

Multivariate Behavioral Research, 53(1), 102-124. DOI: 10.1080/00273171.2017.1406793

The Social Relations Model (SRM) is a conceptual and analytical approach to examining dyadic behaviors and interpersonal perceptions within groups. In an SRM, the perceiver effect describes a person's tendency to perceive other group members in a certain way, whereas the target effect measures the tendency to be perceived by others in certain ways. In SRM research, it is often of interest to relate these individual SRM effects to covariates. However, the estimated individual SRM effects might not provide a very reliable measure of the true, unobserved SRM effects, resulting in distorted estimates of associations with other variables. This article introduces a plausible values approach that allows users to correct for measurement error when assessing the association of individual SRM effects with other individual difference variables. In the plausible values approach, the latent, true individual SRM effects are treated as missing values and are imputed from an imputation model by applying Bayesian estimation techniques. In a simulation study, the statistical properties of the plausible values approach are compared with two approaches that have been used in previous research. A data example from educational psychology is presented to illustrate how the plausible values approach can be implemented with the software WinBUGS.