Student Pages
PhD course

Causal modeling: Statistical analysis of mediation and moderation

  • ECTS credits2
  • Teaching semesterAutumn
  • Course codeCDP919
  • Resources

Main content

Course description

Language of instruction

English or Norwegian

Course content

General content

Examining causal processes is a central objective in research. Starting with the observed associations between two constructs X and Y, two kinds of questions often seem to be relevant: Why are x and y associated? For whom/when are x and y associated? Mediation/moderation analysis provides specific methods to answer these kinds of question. This course introduces participants to the principles of mediation/moderations analysis as applied in studies of psychological development, organizational behavior and treatment/intervention research. Participants get experience with specialized software geared towards analyzing causal processes in such studies.

General learning objectives

The aim of the course is to introduce PhD candidates to the principles and application of mediation/moderation analysis, in diverse fields such as studies of psychological development, treatment effect studies, and studies of organizational change. Throughout the course the candidates will work on developing an understanding for the difference between mediation and moderation, their potential for elucidating different aspects of causal processes, their application in real data examples, an finally how mediation and moderation analysis could be further developed within their own field of research. Further, the course emphasizes development of skills related to planning, conducting and interpreting results from mediation/moderations analysis.

Learning outcomes

On completion of the course the student should have the following learning outcomes defined in terms of knowledge, skills and general competence:


After successful completion of the course, the candidate:

- Has in depth understanding of definitions and aims of mediation and moderation analysis

- Has advanced knowledge about the application of mediation/moderation analysis, and how it can be used to examine pathways and processes in clinical treatment studies, studies of psychological development, organizational studies

- Has in depth understanding about the core principles of mediation analysis, and the concepts of:

direct, indirect and total effects

main effects vs. interactive effects

differential effects

conditional mediation

simple slope analysis

- Has specific knowledge about software solutions in mediation and moderation, including web-based approaches, general software, and specialized modules within existing software.

- Has specific knowledge about the structure and content of output form analysis of mediation and moderation. 


After successful completion of the course, the candidate:

- Can plan and perform necessary steps in mediation/moderation analysis

- Can discuss issues related to the interpretation of mediation/moderation analysis

- Can evaluate make decision about the appropriateness of mediation and/or moderation analysis in relation to existing design features.

- Can judge the appropriateness and application of different methodological approaches to mediation and moderation analysis, including

stepwise approaches

model-based approaches

General competence

After successful completion of the course, the candidate:

- Can identify methodological challenges and dilemmas within mediation/moderation analysis

- Can identify and master the design features that impact the scope of mediation/moderation analysis in the context of causal modeling

Credits (ECTS)


Specific terms


Master Degree in disciplines relevant to educational sciences, psychology and public health.

Compulsory Requirements

The evaluation procedures of the Faculty of Psychology will be applied.

Pass or fail.

Approval of a course paper (10-15 pages) including analysis and interpretation of on a given dataset. The paper is to be evaluated ("accepted"/"revise and resubmit") by the course coordinator or the appropriate course instructor. The estimated time effort for the paper is 0.75 weeks. See a separate document for specific information about the requirements of the paper.

Form of assessment

  • The teaching consists of a combination of lectures, seminars, group work and demonstrations/ practical activities.
  • The total number of teaching hours: 18 timer
  • Participants are required to submit a course paper: 24 hours

Pass with 80 % attendance of the lectures, seminars and group work and demonstrations/ practical activities, submission of essay and approval of course paper.

Who may participate

Primarily doctoral candidates. Others may apply.

Addtional information




For more information contact:



Tlf 55 58 86 22

Academic responsibility

Faculty of Psychology, University of Bergen

Course location

Faculty of Psychology, University of Bergen