Multiple correlation: exact power and sample size calculations

Psychol Bull. 1989 Nov;106(3):516-24. doi: 10.1037/0033-2909.106.3.516.


This article discusses power and sample size calculations for observational studies in which the values of the independent variables cannot be fixed in advance but are themselves outcomes of the study. It reviews the mathematical framework applicable when a multivariate normal distribution can be assumed and describes a method for calculating exact power and sample sizes using a series expansion for the distribution of the multiple correlation coefficient. A table of exact sample sizes for level .05 tests is provided. Approximations to the exact power are discussed, most notably those of Cohen (1977). A rigorous justification of Cohen's approximations is given. Comparisons with exact answers show that the approximations are quite accurate in many situations of practical interest. More extensive tables and a computer program for exact calculations can be obtained from the authors.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Computer Simulation
  • Humans
  • Multivariate Analysis*
  • Sampling Studies*