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Moderating Variable – Variables in Research | Business Research

Moderating Variable

Moderating Variable


➥ Moderating variables influence the relationship between independent and dependent variables by modifying the effect of the intervening variables.

➥ Moderator variables, unlike extraneous variables, are measured and considered.

➥ Studies in TESL and language acquisition often include moderator variables (when they’re not the main focus of the research) such as the sex of the subjects, their age, their culture, or their level of English proficiency.

➥ In statistics, a moderator variable, commonly referred to as M, is a third variable that influences the strength of the relationship between two independent variables.

➥ A moderator is a third variable that influences the correlation between two variables.

➥ An important distinction should be made between the moderating and the interaction effects.

➥ Using interaction effects, model hypotheses that are not necessarily causal in nature are tested.

➥ The moderation effect is used to test model hypotheses that are causal in nature.

➥ Interaction effect relates to the moderation effect, but the moderation effect does not necessarily relate to the interaction effect.

➥ When the relationship between a predictor variable and a dependent variable is strong, a moderator variable can be used, but it is most often used when the relationship between the two variables is unexpectedly weak or inconsistent.

➥ Using moderation analysis, you can determine whether the effects of an intervention are similar across groups.

➥ When a program is disseminated to a whole group containing both males and females, it would be crucial to show that intervention effects are obtained between the two sexes.

➥ The consistency of an intervention effect across subgroups also supports the generalizability of an intervention.

➥ A strong theoretical foundation should underpin the selection of moderating variables.

➥ An explanation and prior theoretical support must be provided for why a particular variable is likely to affect the hypothesized relationships between the constructs.

➥ Depending on the type of moderating variable, moderating variables can be at a ratio, interval or continuous level, as well as categorical.

➥ A moderator, however, is not to have any relationship with the constructs under study, unlike mediating variables, where the mediator must be related to both constructs.

➥ Mediation refers to the indirect effect of an independent variable on a dependent variable passing through the mediator variable.

Moderating Variable Example

Moderating Variable Example

➨ According to the American Psychological Association, stress has a bigger impact on men than  women.

➨ Another example of a moderating variable could be age. It’s likely that each extra hour of exercise causes the resting heart rate to drop more for younger people compared to older people.

Moderating Variable Independent Variable Dependent Variable
Temperature Type of fertilizer Plant growth
Gender Educational level Income
Age Exercise frequency Cardiovascular health
Social support Stress level Mental health
Parenting style Child’s age Child’s behavior

Properties of Moderating Variables

Properties of Moderating Variable

A) Moderating variables can be qualitative or quantitative.

➥ Moderating variables can indeed be either qualitative or quantitative in nature.

➥ Qualitative variables provide information about qualities or characteristics, while quantitative variables provide information about quantities or amounts through numerical values.

i) Qualitative variables are variables that take on names or labels.

➥ Qualitative variables, also known as categorical variables, are those that encompass distinct categories or labels without any inherent numerical value, such as gender, ethnicity, or marital status.

➥ These variables describe qualities or characteristics that are non-numeric and are typically not ordered in any meaningful way.


➨ Gender (Male or Female)

➨ Education Level (High School Degree, Bachelor’s Degree, Master’s Degree, etc.)

➨ Marital Status (Single, Married, Divorced)

ii) Quantitative variables are variables that take on numerical values.

➥ Quantitative variables are those that are measured on a numerical scale, representing quantities or amounts.

➥ These variables can be further categorized into discrete or continuous variables.

➥ Discrete variables take on distinct, separate values, such as the number of children in a family, while continuous variables can take on any value within a range, such as age or income.

Examples :

➨ Age, Height, Square Footage, Population Size

B) Moderating variables can affect the relationship between an independent and dependent variable in a variety of ways.

➥ Moderating variables have the capacity to influence the relationship between an independent and dependent variable in various ways.

➥ An independent variable is a variable that is manipulated or controlled in an experiment or study to observe its effect on the dependent variable.

➥ The dependent variable, on the other hand, is the variable being measured or observed for changes.

➥ A moderating variable, also known as an interaction variable, intervenes in this relationship by affecting the strength or direction of the association between the independent and dependent variables.

➨ Strengthen the relationship between two variables.

➨ Weaken the relationship between two variables.

➨ Negate the relationship between two variables.

➨ Depending on the situation, a moderating variable can moderate the relationship between two variables in many different ways.

Also Read This Article: Intervening Variables

Mediating vs Moderating Variable

Mediating vs Moderating Variable

a. Mediating Variable:

➥ Independent variables and dependent variables are explained by this variable.

➥ Relationship strength can be affected by its absence or presence since it serves as a link between the two variables.

b. Moderating Variable:

➥ Variables that change the strength or direction of the relationship between independent variables and dependent variables.

➥ An independent variable’s impact on the dependent variable can be altered by the presence or absence of this buffer or amplifier.

Mediating Variable Moderating Variable
Explains the relationship between independent and dependent variable Alters the strength or direction of the relationship between independent and dependent variable
Affects the strength of the relationship Changes the impact of the independent variable on the dependent variable
Acts as a link between the two variables Acts as a buffer or amplifier of the relationship
Presence or absence can affect the relationship Presence or absence can change the relationship
They help researchers identify why and how certain relationships occur. They provide insights into when and for whom the relationship holds.
Mediating variables typically occur after the independent variable and before the dependent variable in the causal pathway. They mediate the effect of the independent variable on the dependent variable. Moderating variables do not necessarily occur temporally between the independent and dependent variables. Instead, they modify the relationship between these variables regardless of the temporal sequence.


  • Mediator vs. Moderator Variables ~ Definition & Examples. (2023, August 25).
  • Vij, S. (2017, December 25). Moderating variables in business research.

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