In communication research, a mediating variable is a variable that links the independent and the dependent variables, and whose existence explains the relationship between the other two variables. A mediating variable is also known as a mediator variable or an intervening variable. A mediator variable allows a scientist to hypothesize that the independent variable impacts the mediating variable, which in turn impacts the dependent variable. In other terms, a mediating variable is present when a third variable influences the relationship between the predictor and the criterion variables. Without the mediator variable, the link between the independent and dependent variables would not exist.

Mediation analysis is used to better understand why or how the relationship between two variables occurs. For example, suppose the independent variable (X) influences ...

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