Testing multilevel mediation using hierarchical linear modeling (HLM) has gained tremendous popularity in recent years. However, potential confounding in multilevel mediation effect estimates can arise in these models when within-group effects differ from between-group effects. This study summarizes three types of HLM-based multilevel mediation models, and then explains that in two types of these models confounding can be produced and erroneous conclusions may be derived when using popularly recommended procedures. A Monte Carlo simulation study illustrates that these procedures can underestimate or overestimate true mediation effects. Recommendations are provided for appropriately testing multilevel mediation and for differentiating within-group versus between-group effects in multilevel settings.
- Hierarchical linear models
- Random coefficient regression
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Decision Sciences(all)
- Strategy and Management
- Management of Technology and Innovation