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    Is this moderation?




    I have been given an assignment to explore condom use (DV). The other variables are gender and fear of acquiring an STD.
    The literature review suggests that sex (male or female) may predict condom usage. However, condom use may be altered by altered an individual’s fear of acquiring STDs.
    Is this a moderation question? Are these suitable hypothesis?
    • H1: Fear of acquiring an STD will moderate the relationship between gender and condom use.
    • H0: Fear of acquiring an STD will have no impact on the relationship between gender and condom use.
    Is this moderation? If so, can a moderator be a categorical variable?
    Thanks for your help!

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    Re: Is this moderation?

    Take a step back:

    What is the unit of analysis, persons or couples? In other words who do you think makes the decisions?

    I know there are female condoms, but they haven't caught up. If the unit of analyisis is the individual, then appart for the trivial fact that you need a penis to put a (male) condom on it, how would sex influence condon use?

    If the unit of analysis is the couple, then what would the sex be?

    So you still need to do some work on specifying your exact problem.

    Appart from that, your statement is not a moderation. Moderation means a change in effect, your statement just corresponds with an effect of fear. For it to become a moderation you would need to state that fear changes the effect of sex on condom use.

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    Re: Is this moderation?

    Quote Originally Posted by maartenbuis View Post
    Take a step back:

    What is the unit of analysis, persons or couples? In other words who do you think makes the decisions?

    I know there are female condoms, but they haven't caught up. If the unit of analyisis is the individual, then appart for the trivial fact that you need a penis to put a (male) condom on it, how would sex influence condon use?

    If the unit of analysis is the couple, then what would the sex be?

    So you still need to do some work on specifying your exact problem.

    Appart from that, your statement is not a moderation. Moderation means a change in effect, your statement just corresponds with an effect of fear. For it to become a moderation you would need to state that fear changes the effect of sex on condom use.
    Years ago I stayed at Reichenau, near Konstanz. It is incredibly beautiful, but this suggests that there may be a language problem. The question is straight-forward. The unit of analysis is persons (hence my further question about categorical variables i.e., gender as male/female). In your answer you kindly suggested that, for it to be moderation, fear must change the effect of sex on condom use. That is what I hypothesised, i.e., fear of acquiring an STD will moderate (change) the relationship between gender (sex) and condom use.

    I was wanting to know if this was an appropriate way to examine the variables gender, condom use and fear. The literature suggests that gender may predict condom usage and the association between sex and condom usage may be altered by individual fear.

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    Re: Is this moderation?


    So if the unit of analysis is persons, then you are comparing condom use for male and female persons. If we take that literaly, then there is a trivial effect that only persons with penises can put condoms on those penises, but that is not very interesting. Also is this how the respondents interpreted the question? probably not. How would someones sex meaningfully influence condom use? I can imagine reporting bias, i.e. males and females differ in their willingness to report condom use, but that too is just an artifact and not a really substantively interesting effect. Moreover, in that case they are reporting on couples, so the unit of analysis is no longer the individual but the couple. So what I am missing a mechanism through which a respondent's sex influences their condom use. Actually, I strongly suspect there is none, and all "effects" are just artifacts.

    Also, where does the variable sex come from? Is this a survey and the sex is the sex of the person who happen to answer the questions? Does that correspond with the person who used the condom? Does that correspond with the person that actually made the decision to use condoms? In such a case the questions are asked to persons, but those persons reported on couples, so the unit of analysis is couples.

    Are you making a distinction between gender and (biological) sex? Either is fine by me, but it needs to be clear.

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