A Robust Bootstrap Test for Mediation Analysis
45 Pages Posted: 7 Aug 2018
Date Written: August 3, 2018
Mediation analysis is central to theory building and testing in organizations research. Management scholars often use linear regression analysis based on normal-theory maximum likelihood estimators to test mediation. However, these estimators are very sensitive to deviations from normality assumptions, such as outliers or heavy tails of the observed distribution. This sensitivity seriously threatens the empirical testing of theory about mediation mechanisms, as many empirical studies lack reporting of outlier treatments and checks on model assumptions. To overcome this threat, we develop a fast and robust mediation method that yields reliable results even when the data deviate from normality assumptions. Simulation studies show that our method is both superior in estimating the effect size and more reliable in assessing its significance than the existing methods. We illustrate the mechanics of our proposed method in three empirical cases and provide freely available software in R and SPSS to enhance its accessibility and adoption by researchers and practitioners.
Keywords: mediation analysis, robust statistics, linear regression, bootstrap
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