Statistical inference for a linear function of medians: confidence intervals, hypothesis testing, and sample size requirements

Psychol Methods. 2002 Sep;7(3):370-83. doi: 10.1037/1082-989x.7.3.370.


When the distribution of the response variable is skewed, the population median may be a more meaningful measure of centrality than the population mean, and when the population distribution of the response variable has heavy tails, the sample median may be a more efficient estimator of centrality than the sample mean. The authors propose a confidence interval for a general linear function of population medians. Linear functions have many important special cases including pairwise comparisons, main effects, interaction effects, simple main effects, curvature, and slope. The confidence interval can be used to test 2-sided directional hypotheses and finite interval hypotheses. Sample size formulas are given for both interval estimation and hypothesis testing problems.

MeSH terms

  • Humans
  • Linear Models*
  • Psychology / methods*