• Entry
  • Reader's guide
  • Entries A-Z
  • Subject index

Partial Correlations

A partial correlation is a measure of linear association between two variables after variability in at least one other variable is removed from both variables. The traditional formula for the partial correlation between, say, variables X and Y after controlling for Z, denoted rXY·Z, is

rXYZ=rXYrXZ×rYZ1rYZ2×1rYZ2,

where r is the Pearson correlation between two variables.

rX(Y·Z) is sometimes referred to as a first-order partial correlation to note that the correlation only controls for one other variable. If controlling for two variables, it would be a second-order, and so on. Zero-order correlations do not control for any other variables.

While not obvious from Equation 1, the partial correlation is really the correlation between the residuals of X and Y after regressing both variables on Z. A path model representing this ...

    • Loading...
    locked icon

    Sign in to access this content

    Get a 30 day FREE TRIAL

    • Watch videos from a variety of sources bringing classroom topics to life
    • Read modern, diverse business cases
    • Explore hundreds of books and reference titles