Review essay on Rex B. Kline’s Principles and Practice of Structural Equation Modeling: Encouraging a fifth edition


  • Leslie Hayduk University of Alberta



Principles and Practice of Structural Equation Modeling, 4th edition
Rex B. Kline
New York: The Guilford Press 2016
ISBN 978-1-4625-2334-4
Softcover, US$65, 534 pp.

Kline’s fourth edition is reasonably strong but improvable. The text aims to introduce newcomers to fundamental structural equation modeling (SEM) principles, but tends to confuse “Principles” with “Rules.” Rules having insufficient grounding in principles leave readers ill-prepared for understanding and responding to changes in previously traditional “rules”—such as those concerning model testing, and latents having single indicators. SEM’s foundations would be clearer if Kline began by presenting structural equation models as striving to represent causal effects—a commitment that differentiates structural equation models from regression and encourages model testing. I begin this review by summarizing the covariance/correlation implications of three simple causal structures, which pinpoints multiple text improvements and underpins the discussions of measurement and model testing that follow. Causal structuring also grounds my later comments regarding modelling means/intercepts and interactions. A file of Supplementary Sections expands on several points and lists multiple editorial corrections you might pencil into your copy of Kline’s text.

Author Biography

Leslie Hayduk, University of Alberta

Department of Sociology





Review Essay