A Monte Carlo study compared the statistical performance of standard and robust multilevel mediation analysis methods to test indirect effects for a cluster randomized experimental design under various departures from normality. The performance of these methods was examined for an upper-level mediation process, where the indirect effect is a fixed effect and a group-implemented treatment is hypothesized to impact a person-level outcome via a person-level mediator. Two methods - the bias-corrected parametric percentile bootstrap and the empirical-M test - had the best overall performance. Methods designed for nonnormal score distributions exhibited elevated Type I error rates and poorer confidence interval coverage under some conditions. Although preliminary, the findings suggest that new mediation analysis methods may provide for robust tests of indirect effects.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Statistics and Probability
- Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
- Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)