Moderated Mediation Analysis

An Illustration Using the Association of Gender with Delinquency and Mental Health

Published in: Journal of Criminal Psychology, v. 5, no. 2, 2015, p. 99-123

Posted on RAND.org on July 15, 2015

by Jeremy N. V. Miles, Magdalena Kulesza, Brett Ewing, Regina A. Shih, Joan S. Tucker, Elizabeth J. D'Amico

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PURPOSE: When researchers find an association between two variables, it is useful to evaluate the role of other constructs in this association. While assessing these mediation effects, it is important to determine if results are equal for different groups. It is possible that the strength of a mediation effect may differ for males and females, for example – such an effect is known as moderated mediation. DESIGN/METHODOLOGY/APROACH: Participants were 2532 adolescents from diverse ethnic/racial backgrounds and equally distributed across gender. The goal of this study was to investigate parental respect as a potential mediator of the relationship between gender and delinquency and mental health, and to determine whether observed mediation is moderated by gender. FINDINGS: Parental respect mediated the association between gender and both delinquency and mental health. Specifically, parental respect was a protective factor against delinquency and mental health problems for both females and males. PRACTICAL IMPLICATIONS: Demonstrated the process of estimating models in Lavaan, using two approaches (i.e. single group regression and multiple group regression model), and including covariates in both models. ORIGINALITY/VALUE: We demonstrate the process of estimating these models in Lavaan, using two approaches, a single group regression model and a multiple group model, and we demonstrate how to include covariates in these models.

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