FITTING TOGETHER ALL OF THE PIECES
Chapter 1 provided a conceptual overview showing the variables and linkages to be examined in this book (see Fig. 1.1), and chapters 4–7 examined many of the specific linkages illustrated in that figure. Then chapter 8 fitted together many of the pieces in simplified structural equation models (illustrated in Fig. 8.1). Now, building on the specific coefficients and other findings in previous chapters, and sometimes moving a bit beyond those findings, we summarize what we think we have learned.
We approach this summary and integration with the same sort of caution expressed earlier in the book. Models are always incomplete; they are not fully or accurately specified. In spite of that, we find them useful. We follow Carson's dictum (see p. 27), but only with caution. We “buy the premise” to some extent, and thus we “buy the sketch”—but only to some extent.
In Fig. 9.1 we attempt a summary and interpretation of key findings. All classes of variables first introduced in chapter 1 (Fig. 1.1) are included again here, but now we are willing to reach many more detailed conclusions about dominant directions and patterns of causation. Fig. 9.1 is largely an extrapolation from the structural equation models in chapter 8 (see Fig. 8.1 and Figs. 8.2, 8.6), and all of the causal assumptions in those