Factor Structure of the Women's Heptathlon: applications of traditional factor analysis and structural equation modelling

Ian Heazlewood

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


    The women's junior and senior Heptathlon in the sport of Athletics is an event that is conducted over two consecutive days using seven event performances in the following order; day 1 consists of the 100m hurdles, high jump, shot put and 200m; and day 2 consists of the long jump, javelin throw and 800m. Training recommendations are based on conceptual models and suggested motor fitness constructs between the different events within the Heptathlon. In this model, sprint events such as the 100m hurdles and 200m; jump events such as long jump and high jump; throws such as shot put and javelin and the 800m should represent four underpinning factors that represent the seven the events. The predominant research issue was do two statistical multivariate analytical approaches, one based on traditional factor analysis and the second based on structural equation modelling (SEM) support the four factor conceptual model? The statistical method known as confirmatory factor analysis was applied to a set of IAAF top 173 heptathlon scores in 2010 to uncover the latent structure or factors of the seven events. The traditional factor analysis, principal component analysis, generated the simplest and
    interpretable factor structure that supported the hypothesised four factor model. The SEM approach produced more paradoxical results. The results suggest training modules can be developed based on the factor structure of the Heptathlon.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)114-125
    Number of pages12
    JournalTheories and Applications: the International Edition
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - Mar 2011


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