Power analysis for complex mediational designs using Monte Carlo methods

Felix Thoemmes, David Mackinnon, Mark Reiser

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

184 Scopus citations


Applied researchers often include mediation effects in applications of advanced methods such as latent variable models and linear growth curve models. Guidance on how to estimate statistical power to detect mediation for these models has not yet been addressed in the literature. We describe a general framework for power analyses for complex mediational models. The approach is based on the well-known technique of generating a large number of samples in a Monte Carlo study, and estimating power as the percentage of cases in which an estimate of interest is significantly different from zero. Examples of power calculation for commonly used mediational models are provided. Power analyses for the single mediator, multiple mediators, 3-path mediation, mediation with latent variables, moderated mediation, and mediation in longitudinal designs are described. Annotated sample syntax for Mplus is appended and tabled values of required sample sizes are shown for some models.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)510-534
Number of pages25
JournalStructural Equation Modeling
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2010

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Decision Sciences(all)
  • Modeling and Simulation
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Economics, Econometrics and Finance(all)


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