On the (In)Validity of Tests of Simple Mediation: Threats and Solutions
© 2016 John Wiley & Sons Ltd. Mediation analysis is a popular framework for identifying underlying mechanisms in social psychology. In the context of simple mediation, we review and discuss the implications of three facets of mediation analysis: (a) conceptualization of the relations between the variables, (b) statistical approaches, and (c) relevant elements of design. We also highlight the issue of equivalent models that are inherent in simple mediation. The extent to which results are meaningful stem directly from choices regarding these three facets of mediation analysis. We conclude by discussing how mediation analysis can be better applied to examine causal processes, highlight the limits of simple mediation, and make recommendations for better practice.
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