Tests of mediation: Paradoxical decline in statistical power as a function of mediator collinearity

Academic Article


  • Increasing the correlation between the independent variable and the mediator (a coefficient) increases the effect size (ab) for mediation analysis; however, increasing a by definition increases collinearity in mediation models. As a result, the standard error of product tests increase. The variance inflation caused by increases in a at some point outweighs the increase of the effect size (ab) and results in a loss of statistical power. This phenomenon also occurs with nonparametric bootstrapping approaches because the variance of the bootstrap distribution of ab approximates the variance expected from normal theory. Both variances increase dramatically when a exceeds the b coefficient, thus explaining the power decline with increases in a. Implications for statistical analysis and applied researchers are discussed. © Taylor & Francis Group, LLC.
  • Authors

    Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Pubmed Id

  • 8982033
  • Author List

  • Beasley TM
  • Start Page

  • 283
  • End Page

  • 306
  • Volume

  • 82
  • Issue

  • 3