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Moderation

Moderation is a type of a relation among three variables (mediation is another such three-variable association). The term moderator describes one of the variables in such an association and refers to a type of interaction. Three-variable associations are important in understanding how a complex system, such as a psychotherapy approach, might operate.

Conceptual Definition

Conceptually, a variable (M) moderates the effect of a target variable (T) on an outcome (O) if M suggests for whom or under what conditions T is differentially associated with O.

For example, suppose researchers conduct a randomized controlled trial (RCT) comparing psychodynamic therapy with client-centered therapy (T1 vs. T2). Although the overall question may be which of the two treatments works better, a third variable such as gender (M) may moderate the ...

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