Mediation analysis is used in social sciences, biology, epidemiology, and other fields in order to evaluate the mechanism through which an independent variable (X) affects a dependent variable (Y). The variable transmitting the influence of the independent variable onto the dependent variable is called the mediator (M), and the indirect effect through the mediator is called the mediated effect. In prevention research, mediation analysis is used to improve future interventions by discovering the mediator(s) through which the intervention (X) affects the outcome of interest (Y); for example, an [Page 1046]intervention designed to reduce smoking (X) affects self-efficacy (M), which in turn affects the number of cigarettes smoked (Y). The mediated effect in this example represents the indirect effect of the intervention on the number of ...
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