I am new to the concept of SEM and I am considering its use within my research. As a very brief descriptor I am looking at how elite athletes’ participation in post-athletic career development activities (e.g., educational courses or work experience) may be related to their sporting performances during their careers.
Essentially I will be using some validated psychometrics as predictor variables, one that looks at self concept and another that looks at conscientiousness as a personality trait. I also intend however to include two other predictor variables, one that measures positive experiences in the athlete’s career development activities and the other measuring the support they receive from their sporting organisation. The questions for these variables have been developed out of the findings of a prior qualitative study and would represent two more latent constructs in the model.
Now, here is my problem. I have two major constraints, 1. Response burden (e.g., the overall survey package is becoming very large) and 2. Time constraints of when I have to get the project finished. The questions I have developed for each of these new dimensions are relatively brief and simple and contain two questions for each of the main themes pertaining to both a positive experience in a career development activity and support provided by the organisation (16 and ten questions respectively). Although they have been confirmed for face and content validity I wonder about the potential for adequate factor analysis and reliability testing as there are only two questions per theme. There is also limited time for reiterations prior to the major study and consequently any factor analysis on these items (confirmatory I guess considering each pair of questions represents a theme) would occur after collection of all the necessary cross-sectional data in the major study.
Considering the time and total length of survey pressures I am under, to try and develop two constructs with credible construct validity may be out of the question (unless I get lucky in the SEM process). I have also sought to find existing scales/questionnaires that will measure what is required for these predictor variables however for these two concepts, the findings in my first (qualitative) study suggest that the environments are specific enough to warrant tailor made questions. So my question is,
Can an SEM include some ‘latent constructs’ that have been measured by observed variables that are not validated psychometric measures yet have been pragmatically produced and confirmed for face and content validity?
Additionally, how important does reliability testing become for those specific constructs if the observed variable is just a simple questionnaire? How credible would the latent variable be?
So there it is and apologies for taking so long to arrive to the point. As a final question, is it possible to include a dependent variable in an SEM that is a simple rating of athletic performance on a 5 point likert scale? Essentially the latent construct would be ‘performance’ however it is measured by only one observed variable (the 5 point scale).