Equivalence of the mediation, confounding and suppression effect

David Mackinnon, Jennifer L. Krull, Chondra M. Lockwood

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2787 Scopus citations


This paper describes the statistical similarities among mediation, confounding, and suppression. Each is quantified by measuring the change in the relationship between an independent and a dependent variable after adding a third variable to the analysis. Mediation and confounding are identical statistically and can be distinguished only on conceptual grounds. Methods to determine the confidence intervals for confounding and suppression effects are proposed based on methods developed for mediated effects. Although the statistical estimation of effects and standard errors is the same, there are important conceptual differences among the three types of effects.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)173-181
Number of pages9
JournalPrevention Science
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2000


  • Confidence intervals
  • Confounding
  • Mediation
  • Suppression

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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