Types of Causality

 

Dr. Philip N. Howard

Department Communication

University of Washington

 

There are six different kinds of causality within a model.

 

1.                  A direct causal relationship is one in which a variable, X, is a direct cause of another variable, Y (i.e. it is the immediate determinant of Y within the context of the theoretical system).

 

 

 

 

 

2.                  An indirect causal relationship is one in which X exerts a causal impact on Y, but only through its impact on a third variable, Z.

 

 

 

 

 

3.                  A spurious relationship is one in which X and Y are related, but only because of a common cause, Z.  There is no formal causal link between X and Y.

 

 

 

 

 

4.                  A bi-directional or reciprocal causal relationship is one in which X has a causal influence on Y, which in turn, has a causal impact on X.

 

 

 

 

 

5.                  An unanalyzed relationship is one in which X and Y or related, but the source of the relationship is unspecified.

 

 

 

 

 

6.                  A moderated causal relationship is one in which the relationship between X ad Y is moderated by a third variable.  In other words, the nature of the relationship between X and Y varies, depending on the value of Z.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

From Jaccard, J., & Turrisi, R. (2003). Interaction Effects in Multiple Regression. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.