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Psychol Methods. 2006 Jun;11(2):142-63.

Conceptualizing and testing random indirect effects and moderated mediation in multilevel models: new procedures and recommendations.

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  • 1Department of Psychology, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, NC 27599-3270, USA.


The authors propose new procedures for evaluating direct, indirect, and total effects in multilevel models when all relevant variables are measured at Level 1 and all effects are random. Formulas are provided for the mean and variance of the indirect and total effects and for the sampling variances of the average indirect and total effects. Simulations show that the estimates are unbiased under most conditions. Confidence intervals based on a normal approximation or a simulated sampling distribution perform well when the random effects are normally distributed but less so when they are nonnormally distributed. These methods are further developed to address hypotheses of moderated mediation in the multilevel context. An example demonstrates the feasibility and usefulness of the proposed methods.

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