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ERIC Number: EJ932359
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2010-Dec
Pages: 26
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 62
ISBN: N/A
ISSN: ISSN-1082-989X
A General Approach to Causal Mediation Analysis
Imai, Kosuke; Keele, Luke; Tingley, Dustin
Psychological Methods, v15 n4 p309-334 Dec 2010
Traditionally in the social sciences, causal mediation analysis has been formulated, understood, and implemented within the framework of linear structural equation models. We argue and demonstrate that this is problematic for 3 reasons: the lack of a general definition of causal mediation effects independent of a particular statistical model, the inability to specify the key identification assumption, and the difficulty of extending the framework to nonlinear models. In this article, we propose an alternative approach that overcomes these limitations. Our approach is general because it offers the definition, identification, estimation, and sensitivity analysis of causal mediation effects without reference to any specific statistical model. Further, our approach explicitly links these 4 elements closely together within a single framework. As a result, the proposed framework can accommodate linear and nonlinear relationships, parametric and nonparametric models, continuous and discrete mediators, and various types of outcome variables. The general definition and identification result also allow us to develop sensitivity analysis in the context of commonly used models, which enables applied researchers to formally assess the robustness of their empirical conclusions to violations of the key assumption. We illustrate our approach by applying it to the Job Search Intervention Study. We also offer easy-to-use software that implements all our proposed methods. (Contains 7 figures, 7 tables and 14 footnotes.)
American Psychological Association. Journals Department, 750 First Street NE, Washington, DC 20002-4242. Tel: 800-374-2721; Tel: 202-336-5510; Fax: 202-336-5502; e-mail: order@apa.org; Web site: http://www.apa.org/publications
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A