Monte Carlo Confidence Intervals for Complex Functions of Indirect Effects

Davood Tofighi, David Mackinnon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

75 Scopus citations


One challenge in mediation analysis is to generate a confidence interval (CI) with high coverage and power that maintains a nominal significance level for any well-defined function of indirect and direct effects in the general context of structural equation modeling (SEM). This study discusses a proposed Monte Carlo extension that finds the CIs for any well-defined function of the coefficients of SEM such as the product of k coefficients and the ratio of the contrasts of indirect effects, using the Monte Carlo method. Finally, we conduct a small-scale simulation study to compare CIs produced by the Monte Carlo, nonparametric bootstrap, and asymptotic-delta methods. Based on our simulation study, we recommend researchers use the Monte Carlo method to test a complex function of indirect effects.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)194-205
Number of pages12
JournalStructural Equation Modeling
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 3 2016


  • Monte Carlo
  • confidence interval
  • mediation analysis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Decision Sciences(all)
  • Modeling and Simulation
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Economics, Econometrics and Finance(all)


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