Of Dimensions, Dichotomies, and Trichotomies: Comments on the Taxometric Ghost that Haunts Longpré, Guay, Knight, and Benbouriche (2018)

  • Ian V. McPhailEmail author
Letter to the Editor

A study published by Longpré, Guay, Knight, and Benbouriche (2018) in Archives of Sexual Behavior examined the latent structure of sexual sadism using taxometric procedures in a large sample of sexual offenders. As the bell tolls midnight and the results were interpreted, they conclude, “the results of this study clearly indicate that sexual sadism is distributed as a dimension” (p. 410). The research is competently done, but a closer look at this conclusion appears warranted because a taxometric ghost may be haunting these data.

Identifying Latent Structure Using Taxometric Analyses

Two of the main conclusions a researcher can reach after conducting taxometric analyses are: latent structure of the construct under study is dimensional or taxonic (specifically, dichotomous). That is, these analyses allow a researcher to statistically examine the distributional properties in a set of indicators of the construct and identify whether the distributions are better characterized by a...



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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PsychologyUniversity of SaskatchewanSaskatoonCanada

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