Small-scale randomized controlled trials need more powerful methods of mediational analysis than the Baron-Kenny method

Cerin, Ester, Taylor, Lorian, Leslie, Eva and Owen, Neville 2006, Small-scale randomized controlled trials need more powerful methods of mediational analysis than the Baron-Kenny method, Journal of clinical epidemiology, vol. 59, no. 5, pp. 457-464.

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Title Small-scale randomized controlled trials need more powerful methods of mediational analysis than the Baron-Kenny method
Author(s) Cerin, Ester
Taylor, Lorian
Leslie, Eva
Owen, Neville
Journal name Journal of clinical epidemiology
Volume number 59
Issue number 5
Start page 457
End page 464
Publisher Pergamon Press
Place of publication Oxford, England
Publication date 2006-05
ISSN 0895-4356
1878-5921
Keyword(s) Randomized controlled trials
Mediational effect
Small sample
Exercise-related social support
Walking
Statistical power
Summary Objective: To devise more-effective physical activity interventions, the mediating mechanisms yielding behavioral change need to be identified. The Baron–Kenny method is most commonly used, but has low statistical power and may not identify mechanisms of behavioral change in small-to-medium size studies. More powerful statistical tests are available.
Study Design and Setting: Inactive adults (N = 52) were randomized to either a print or a print-plus-telephone intervention. Walking and exercise-related social support were assessed at baseline, after the intervention, and 4 weeks later. The Baron–Kenny and three alternative methods of mediational analysis (Freedman–Schatzkin; MacKinnon et al.; bootstrap method) were used to examine the effects of social support on initial behavior change and maintenance. Results: A significant mediational effect of social support on initial behavior change was indicated by the MacKinnon et al., bootstrap, and, marginally, Freedman–Schatzkin methods, but not by the Baron–Kenny method. No significant mediational effect of social support on maintenance of walking was found. Conclusions:  Methodologically rigorous intervention studies to identify mediators of change in physical activity are costly and labor ntensive, and may not be feasible with large samples. The use of statistically powerful tests of mediational effects in small-scale studies can inform the development of more effective interventions.
Language eng
Field of Research 111703 Care for Disabled
Socio Economic Objective 970111 Expanding Knowledge in the Medical and Health Sciences
HERDC Research category C1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal
Copyright notice ©2006, Elsevier
Persistent URL http://hdl.handle.net/10536/DRO/DU:30009046

Document type: Journal Article
Collection: School of Health and Social Development
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