Mediators, moderators, and tests for mediation

Lawrence R. James*, Jeanne M. Brett

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1078 Scopus citations


Discusses mediation relations in causal terms. Influences of an antecedent are transmitted to a consequence through an intervening mediator. Mediation relations may assume a number of functional forms, including nonadditive, nonlinear, and nonrecursive forms. Although mediation and moderation are distinguishable processes, with nonadditive forms (moderated mediation) a particular variable may be both a mediator and a moderator within a single set of functional relations. Current models for testing mediation relations in industrial and organizational psychology often involve an interplay between exploratory (correlational) statistical tests and causal inference. It is suggested that no middle ground exists between exploratory and confirmatory (causal) analysis and that attempts to explain how mediation processes occur require specified causal models. (57 ref) (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2006 APA, all rights reserved).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)307-321
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Applied Psychology
Issue number2
StatePublished - May 1984


  • causal model & testing, moderation & mediation relations in industrial & organizational psychology

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Applied Psychology


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