[R] Re: Factor analysis of categorical or mixed categorical/continuousdata in [R]

John Fox jfox at mcmaster.ca
Thu Feb 21 17:08:43 CET 2002

At 11:18 AM 2/21/2002 +0000, Dr Stuart Leask wrote:
>I am looking to fit one or more latent categorical variables to data that is
>a mixture of categorical and continuous variables. Factor analysis would
>work for continuous data, latent class analysis for categorical data. I
>understand that in a package such as MPlus I could perform a single analysis
>of both data types. Are there similar routines available in R?

Dear Stuart,

If memory serves me, a common approach is to use tetrachoric correlations 
(for dichotomous data), polychoric correlations (for ordered-category 
data), and point-biserial and polyserial correlations (for mixed data). If 
you want to do inference, then this approach gets complicated (requiring 
asymptotic sampling covariances for the correlations), but for a 
descriptive factor analysis, it should be reasonably straightforward.

I'm not aware of any facility for calculating these kinds of correlations 
in R, but programming them shouldn't be too hard. I may add this at some 
point to the sem package.

I hope that this helps,

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