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R packages for Structural Equation Model: SEM with R


Structural Equation Model (SEM) was first examined by a software called LISREL. Then, SEM has been mainly run by several proprietary software i.e., Mplus, AMOS, EQS, SAS and a new version of Stata (v.12).

However, you may also run SEM with a great but free software like R.

To the best of my knowledge, there are now four active packages that you can use to fit SEM. Here they are:

Main Packages (for fitting SEM models) 

  1. sem (John Fox, 2006):The first R package for SEM ” fit by maximum likelihood assuming multinormality, and single-equation estimation for observed-variable models by two-stage least.squares.” It was also the first package I tried to run SEM in R. Thanks to a very quick response from Prof.Fox on my question I emailed him.
    See Example of ‘sem’ package here.
  2. OpenMx (Boker et al, 2011)
    A very active package that “is free and open source software for use with R that allows estimation of a wide variety of advanced multivariate statistical models.” contributed by experts in R and SEM.
    See Example of ‘OpenMx’ package here.
  3. lavaan (Yves Rosseel, 2012)
    A promising package for SEM. Its command language is similar to those of Mplus. Hence it is perhaps the most user-friendly package for SEM to date.
    See Example of ‘lavaan’ package here.
    Link to JSS paper
  4. semPLS (Armin Monecke, 2012)
    Fitting Structural Equation Model Using Partial Least Squares
    See: CRAN link, JSS paper
  5. plspm (Gaston Sanchez, 2012)
    R package dedicated to Partial Least Squares (PLS) methods (CRAN, plsmodeling.com)
    by Gaston Sanchez and Laura Trinchera
    A corresponding book titled “PLS Path Modeling with R” can be downloaded here.
My paper in useR! 2011 has evaluated R packages vs. Proprietary software i.e., AMOS & Lisrel.

Today (30 May 2012), I gladly found that there are also complementary packages for SEM in R as follows.

Complementary packages

  • SEMplusR: Functions, examples and datasets to learn, use and teach Structural Equation Modeling (SEM)  [GitHub]
    by Pairach Piboonrungroj 
  • SEMModComp: Model Comparisons for SEM [CRAN link, Additional Documents]
    by  Roy Levy
  • semGOF: an add-on package which provides fourteen goodness-of-fit indeces for structural equation models using ‘sem’ package.[CRAN]
    by Elena Bertossi 
  • stremo: Functions to help the process of learning structural equation modelling [CRAN link]
    by  Gustavo Carvalho, Marco Batalha, and Owen Petchey
  • FIAR: Functional Integration Analysis in R [CRAN link]
    by  Bjorn Roelstraete
  • semTools: Useful tools for structural equation modeling [CRAN link]
    by  Sunthud Pornprasertmanit, Patrick Miller, Alex Schoemann, Yves Rosseel
  • simsem: SIMulated Structural Equation Modeling [CRAN link]
    by  Sunthud Pornprasertmanit, Patrick Miller, Alexander Schoemann
  • pathmox R package dedicated to segmentation trees in PLS Path Modeling [CRAN, plsmodeling.com]

Packages for SEM plotting and graphics

  • qgraph: Network representations of relationships in data [CRAN link]
    by  Sacha Epskamp, Angelique O. J. Cramer, Lourens J. Waldorp, Verena D. Schmittmann and Denny Borsboom
  • psych: Procedures for Psychological, Psychometric, and Personality Research [CRAN link]
    by William Revelle

Packages that link R with other software to fit SEM

  • Mplus
    Automating Mplus Model Estimation and Interpretation [CRAN link]
    by  Michael Hallquist
  • EQS
    R/EQS Interface [CRAN link]
    by  Patrick Mair and Eric Wu

More external resources on SEM in R

  • CRAN Task view on ‘Structural Equation Models, Factor Analysis, PCA’ in Psychometrics [url]
    by Patrick Mair
  • A tutorial on the use of sem package  [url]
    by William Revelle
  • A post on ‘Structural Equation Modeling in R‘  [url]
    by Jeromy Anglim
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