Document Type

Journal Article

Department/Unit

Department of Communication Studies

Title

Reconsidering Baron and Kenny: Myths and truths about mediation analysis

Language

English

Abstract

Baron and Kenny’s procedure for determining if an independent variable affects a dependent variable through some mediator is so well known that it is used by authors and requested by reviewers almost reflexively. Many research projects have been terminated early in a research program or later in the review process because the data did not conform to Baron and Kenny’s criteria, impeding theoretical development. While the technical literature has disputed some of Baron and Kenny’s tests, this literature has not diffused to practicing researchers. We present a nontechnical summary of the flaws in the Baron and Kenny logic, some of which have not been previously noted. We provide a decision tree and a step‐by‐step procedure for testing mediation, classifying its type, and interpreting the implications of findings for theory building and future research.

Publication Date

8-1-2010

Source Publication Title

Journal of Consumer Research

Volume

37

Issue

2

Start Page

197

End Page

206

Publisher

University of Chicago Press

DOI

10.1086/651257

Link to Publisher's Edition

http://dx.doi.org/10.1086/651257

ISSN (print)

00935301

ISSN (electronic)

15375277

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