Get familiar with the SPSS Amos interface

By Riya Jain and Priya Chetty on February 16, 2022

IBM SPSS Amos has an easy interface for applying the Structural Equation Modeling (SEM) test. A number of tests such as maximum likelihood, generalized least squares, unweighted least squares, scale-free least squares, Bayesian estimation, and Browne’s asymptotically distributed free criterion can be easily applied in the SPSS Amos interface.

Launching the SPSS Amos graphics

To launch the working window of SPSS Amos, click on the ‘Amos graphics’ option in the start menu of your computer screen. It looks like the icon below.

SPSS Amos icon
Figure 1: SPSS Amos icon

This will open the following SPSS Amos graphics window. It is the main window to perform functions like running the SEM test and creating graphs or models.

Amos graphics window
Figure 2: Amos graphics window

After importing the dataset draw the variables

Drawing an observed variable

The rectangular shape figure defined by the icon  is used for drawing the observed variables i.e. the ones whose value researcher input. Click on the icon to draw the observed variables. After drawing it, the below image will appear.

Drawing an observed variable in SPSS Amos
Figure 3: Drawing an observed variable in SPSS Amos
Drawing a latent variable

Further, the oval or eclipse-shaped figure is drawn using the icon for unobserved variables i.e. the latent variable. Click on that icon to draw the observed variables. After drawing it, the below image will appear.

Drawing a latent variable in SPSS Amos
Figure 4: Drawing a latent variable in SPSS Amos
Combining the latent and observed variables

Another option in the Amos is to draw a model which is a combination of latent and observed variables i.e. using the  icon. This icon simplifies the process of model construction. Click on that icon to draw the observed variables. After drawing it, the below image will appear.

Model with a latent and observed variable in SPSS Amos
Figure 6: Model with a latent and observed variable in SPSS Amos
Showing measurement error in the model

Lastly, one variable is used for denoting the measurement error or the error in the computation of the dataset. It is denoted by the icon. It can be used for any observed and latent variable. After clicking it, draw the measurement error for the variables. The below image will appear.

Measurement error addition to variable in SPSS Amos
Figure 7: Measurement error addition to variable in SPSS Amos
Adding captions in the model

Lastly, add captions to the built model using the  icon.

Naming the variable in SPSS Amos interface

To name the variable, either double click on that variable or click on the object properties icon and then select the variable to check. A new dialogue box will appear as shown below.

Changing the object properties in SPSS Amos
Figure 8: Changing the object properties in SPSS Amos

The ‘Variable name’ box defines the name present in the dataset while the ‘Variable label’ box is the specification for that variable. The dataset which was imported for representation had a variable named ‘VAR00036’ originally, as shown in the image above. However, to represent it as ‘AS1’ in the Amos diagram, it was changed in the ‘Variable label’ box to AS1.

Changing the variable name in SPSS Amos
Figure 9: Changing the variable name in SPSS Amos

To summarize all the variables that are included in the model, icon is used.

List of all variables in SPSS Amos
Figure 10: List of all variables in SPSS Amos

Using arrows to show the direction of linkage between variables

The arrows in the Amos interface are used for stating the direction of linkage. There are two types of arrows; one each for linkage and covariance. The linkage between two variables is drawn using  icon.

Using arrows to show a linkage between variables in SPSS Amos
Figure 11: Using arrows to show a linkage between variables in SPSS Amos

Covariance i.e. joint variability of two variables is shown using the double-sided arrow, i.e. by using an icon.

Figure 12: Showing covariance between variables in SPSS Amos

Changing the build model

For changing the model, objects are selected using three different icons.

Selecting one object

For selecting only one object, the  icon is used. Herein, the selected object can be depicted by the blue highlighted line.

Selecting one object in SPSS Amos
Figure 13: Selecting one object in SPSS Amos
Selecting all objects

To select all objects icon can be used. All of the selected items are represented in the below-shown figure.

How to select all objects in SPSS Amos
Figure 14: How to select all objects in SPSS Amos
Deselecting all objects

To deselect all the selected objects use icon. With this, all the blue highlighted content will again be in its original form.

Duplicating an object

For duplicating an object or copying an object, use   icon. The duplicated object will be seen as shown below.

How to duplicate an object in SPSS Amos
Figure 15: How to duplicate an object in SPSS Amos
Moving an object in the Amos interface

Furthermore, to move the object, use icon for moving the entire model  and  need to be selected together.

Deleting an object

To delete any object select  icon and click on the desired object.

Changing the size of a variable or object

The size adjustment of a variable or an object could be done using  icon. This icon would help in moving or resizing the object. In the below figure, we have enlarged the left rectangle.

Resizing an object in SPSS Amos
Figure 16: Resizing an object in SPSS Amos
Rotating a variable

Use the icon to rotate the variable to the right by 90 degrees.

How to rotate a figure in SPSS Amos interface
Figure 17: How to rotate a figure in the SPSS Amos interface
Miscellaneous icons related to the variable in Amos interface

Zoom in with  or zoom out with , on the model.

To undo a step, click on    icon.

To redo a step, click on icon.

To determine the variables defining a latent variable, use the  icon. When a model has too many latent variables, this icon helps to easily determine which observed variables are contributing to computing the latent one.

Lastly, to beautify the model and to make it visually appealing, click the icon first, and then on the object. This will transform the model. Below is an example.

Transforming a model in SPSS Amos to make it more aesthetically pleasing
Figure 18: Transforming a model in SPSS Amos to make it more aesthetically pleasing

Output derivation in SPSS Amos interface

In Amos, the output of the model can be controlled by controlling the variables. For this, click on the analysis properties  icon.

Altering analysis properties to change the SPSS Amos output
Figure 19: Altering analysis properties to change the SPSS Amos output

‘Estimation’ helps to determine which type of estimation to compute i.e. maximum likelihood, generalized least square, or unweighted least squares.

The ‘Numerical’ option represents the type of numerical values required. Generally, negative covariance shows an error. Click on ‘Allow non-positive definite sample covariance matrices’ to perform the analysis.

Defining the numerical analysis properties in SPSS Amos interface
Figure 20: Defining the numerical analysis properties in SPSS Amos interface

Click on ‘Bias’ to adjust the type of bias or error in the model. It also allows selecting ‘Maximum likelihood’ or ‘Unbiased’ input and output.

Altering the bias analysis properties in SPSS Amos interface
Figure 21: Altering the bias analysis properties in the SPSS Amos interface

Next, click on ‘Output’ to specify the output. There are multiple options to choose from as shown in the image below.

Defining the output analysis properties in SPSS Amos interface
Figure 22: Defining the output analysis properties in the SPSS Amos interface

Lastly, bootstrapping allows the bootstrap of different results derived from ADF, GLS, SLS, or ULS models. It is used to duplicate the data multiple times and test it again.

Setting the bootstrap analysis properties in SPSS Amos interface
Figure 23: Setting the bootstrap analysis properties in the SPSS Amos interface

Lastly, for computing the results, click on  icon and use  icon to view the output.

Summarized list of icons in SPSS Amos interface

All the icons of the Amos interface could be summarized in the below figure by stating the functions.

Amos interface graphics icons
Figure 24: Amos interface graphics icons
Two ways of importing data to Amos

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