Psychologists have long had interest in the processes through which antecedent variables produce their effects on the outcomes of ultimate interest (e.g., Woodworth's Stimulus-Organism-Response model). Models involving such meditational processes have characterized many of the important psychological theories of the 20th century and continue to the present day. However, it was not until Judd and Kenny (1981) and Baron and Kenny (1986) combined ideas from experimental design and structural equation modeling that statistical methods for directly testing such models, now known as mediation analysis, began to be developed. Methodologists have improved these statistical methods, developing new, more efficient estimators for mediated effects. They have also extended mediation analysis to multilevel data structures, models involving multiple mediators, models in which interactions occur, and an array of noncontinuous outcome measures (see MacKinnon, 2008). This work nicely maps on to key questions of applied researchers and has led to an outpouring of research testing meditational models (As of August, 2011, Baron and Kenny's article has had over 24,000 citations according to Google Scholar).
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Statistics and Probability
- Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
- Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)