Multilevel modeling of individual and group level mediated effects

Jennifer L. Krull, David P. MacKinnon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1023 Scopus citations


This article combines procedures for single-level mediational analysis with multilevel modeling techniques in order to appropriately test mediational effects in clustered data. A simulation study compared the performance of these multilevel mediational models with that of single-level mediational models in clustered data with individual- or group-level initial independent variables, individual- or group-level mediators, and individual level outcomes. The standard errors of mediated effects from the multilevel solution were generally accurate, while those from the single-level procedure were downwardly biased, often by 20% or more. The multilevel advantage was greatest in those situations involving group-level variables, larger group sizes, and higher intraclass correlations in mediator and outcome variables. Multilevel mediational modeling methods were also applied to data from a preventive intervention designed to reduce intentions to use steroids among players on high school football teams. This example illustrates differences between single-level and multilevel mediational modeling in real-world clustered data and shows how the multilevel technique may lead to more accurate results.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)249-277
Number of pages29
JournalMultivariate Behavioral Research
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2001

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Statistics and Probability
  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)


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