What does it mean if my Pearson r correlation is not significant?

Hi there,

So ive got a sample size of 400 Uni students, measuring a correlation between stress and exercise levels in minutes, and I received a non-significant results. Can anybody help explain why this is the case? Im having trouble interpreting it.


TS Contributor
It could mean several things. First, there is simply not enough evidence that there is a relationship between stress and exercise level. This lack of evidence could be caused by 1) no relationship exists; 2) the relationship exists but is too weak to detect with the sample size; 3) the measurement system is too noisy and obscures the relationship. Second, there is a relationship, but that relationship is not a linear relationship. Start by plotting your data. If there appears to be a non-linear relationship, try a Spearman's rho correlation instead of Pearson's r. The Spearman's rho can detect a monotonically curved relationship, which Pearson's r cannot.


Not a robit
Also, how is stress level collected and formatted?

I strongly agree with Miner's recommendation of plotting your data. Start with a scatterplot.