lavaan is a free, open source R package for latent variable analysis. You can use lavaan to estimate a large variety of multivariate statistical models, including path analysis, confirmatory factor analysis, structural equation modeling and growth curve models.

The lavaan package is developed to provide useRs, researchers and teachers a free open-source, but commercial-quality package for latent variable modeling. The long-term goal of lavaan is to implement all the state-of-the-art capabilities that are currently available in commercial packages. However, lavaan is still under development, and much work still needs to be done.

To get a first impression of how lavaan works in practice, consider the following example of a SEM model (the Political Democracy Example from Bollen’s 1989 book):


model <- '
   # latent variable definitions
     ind60 =~ x1 + x2 + x3
     dem60 =~ y1 + y2 + y3 + y4
     dem65 =~ y5 + y6 + y7 + y8
   # regressions
     dem60 ~ ind60
     dem65 ~ ind60 + dem60
   # residual covariances
     y1 ~~ y5
     y2 ~~ y4 + y6
     y3 ~~ y7
     y4 ~~ y8
     y6 ~~ y8
fit <- sem(model, data = PoliticalDemocracy)

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