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I have a data set which includes a number of variables which need to be reverse coded. I have already completed my missing data analysis, however did not reverse code the items prior to replacing the missing data (using EM). I am also about to complete an exploratory factor analysis on the data, followed by a confirmatory factor analysis.

*** using SPSS

Two questions: 1) Should I have reverse coded all items prior to replacing the missing data? Will this have influenced which numbers were used to replace the missing data, and if reverse code items now will it be wrong?

2) Should I have reverse coded the items prior to the EFA and CFA? I have heard that it can be okay to leave the reverse coded items in EFA, as they will still load on the correct factors, but just be negatively loaded. However, wondering if this is correct/best practice?

Thank you.

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  1. I don't think it should matter because you're just changing the scale of the variables, not the relationship between a given variable and other variables.

  2. Yes, you're right, it should just affect whether loadings are negative or positive. If you're ultimately planning on average items together, then I would just reverse code them anyways because it's easier to interpret.

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