Mediation in experimental and nonexperimental studies: new procedures and recommendations

Psychol Methods. 2002 Dec;7(4):422-45.


Mediation is said to occur when a causal effect of some variable X on an outcome Y is explained by some intervening variable M. The authors recommend that with small to moderate samples, bootstrap methods (B. Efron & R. Tibshirani, 1993) be used to assess mediation. Bootstrap tests are powerful because they detect that the sampling distribution of the mediated effect is skewed away from 0. They argue that R. M. Baron and D. A. Kenny's (1986) recommendation of first testing the X --> Y association for statistical significance should not be a requirement when there is a priori belief that the effect size is small or suppression is a possibility. Empirical examples and computer setups for bootstrap analyses are provided.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Guidelines as Topic
  • Humans
  • Models, Psychological*
  • Psychology / methods*
  • Stress, Psychological / prevention & control*
  • Stress, Psychological / psychology