Published in Behaviormetrika, Vol. 40, No. 1, pp. 57-68


Data sets in the social and behavioral sciences are often heavy-tailed. Previous studies have demonstrated that small samples or leptokurtic distributions adversely affect the performance of coefficient alpha. To address these concerns, we propose an alternative estimator of reliability based on L-comoments. The empirical results of this study demonstrate that when sample sizes are small and distributions are heavy-tailed that the proposed coefficient L-alpha has substantial advantages over Cronbach’s estimator of reliability in terms of relative bias and relative standard error.