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 Multilevel Structural Equation Modeling serves as a minimally technical overview of multilevel structural equation modeling (MSEM) for applied researchers and advanced graduate students in the social sciences. As the first book of its kind, this title is an accessible, hands-on introduction for beginners of the topic. The authors predict a growth in this area, fueled by both data availability and also the availability of new and improved software to run these models. The applied approach, combined with a graphical presentation style and minimal reliance on complex matrix algebra guarantee that this volume will be useful to social science graduate students wanting to utilize such models.

List of Figures

About the Authors

Series Editor's Introduction


Chapter 1: Introduction
About the Book and MSEM

Quick Review of Structural Equation Models

Quick Review of Multilevel Models

Introduction to MSEM and Its Notation

Estimation and Model Fit

Scope of the Book and Online Materials

Chapter 2: Multilevel Path Models
Multilevel Regression Example

Random Intercepts Model

Random Slopes Model

Comparison of Random Intercepts and Random Slopes Models

Mediation and Moderation

Chapter 3: Multilevel Factor Models
Multigroup CFA

Two-Level CFA

Random Latent Variable Intercepts

Random Loadings

Chapter 4: Multilevel Structural Equation Models
Bringing Factor and Path Models Together

Random Intercept of Observed Outcome

Multilevel Latent Covariate Model

Between-Level Latent Variables

Random Slopes MSEM

Chapter 5: Conclusion


Student Study Site

A website for the book at includes replication codes for lavaan for R and Mplus, data for all the examples reported, and two LaTeX files to produce all equations and figures from the book.

“This book provides a terrific introduction to the key models and principles of multilevel SEM. The examples speak for themselves, and the authors manage well to help readers understand and evaluate the beauty of MSEM. Datasets are by and large available and ready for course use. This is a book that can easily adopted in an introductory MSEM course.”

Ronny Scherer
University of Oslo
Key features


  • Examples walk readers through the main modeling possibilities of MSEM, including software scripts in R (which is free) and Mplus.
  • Codes and data from the book examples are easy to replicate for use in readers’ own data and models.
  • Description of advanced topics gives a roadmap to more advanced applications which are not covered in the book.
  • New mathematical notation of models make concepts easier for students who don't have a background in matrix algebra.


Sample Materials & Chapters

2: Multilevel Path Models

For instructors

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ISBN: 9781544323046

ISBN: 9781544323053

This title is also available on SAGE Research Methods, the ultimate digital methods library. If your library doesn’t have access, ask your librarian to start a trial.