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Must the moderator variable correlate significantly with the dependent variable, if I am to do a moderation analysis (multiple regression)?

I have a predictor (X) and an outcome (Y). They correlate significantly. My hypothesis is that a moderator (W) moderates the relationship. Multiple regression analasys shows that this is true. M is a significant buffer, weakening the correlation between X and Y. BUT W does not correlate with X or Y ... I see that W correlates with Y in most moderation analyses - but I cannot find anyone who explains, if this is required, to do the analysis in the first place!?

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No. Moderation means that the relationship between one independent variable (IV) and the dependent variable (DV) is different at different levels of the other IV. It can also be important to analyze a moderating relationship in order to show that it is weak (especially if the literature reports moderation).

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  • $\begingroup$ Thank you so much for your answer! Just to clarify: no, as in no the moderator does not have to correlate with the DV? Yes my results show exactly that the correlation between IV and DV differs at different levels of M $\endgroup$ – Pete Jun 14 '18 at 13:42
  • $\begingroup$ Yes. I mean, yes, that is what I meant. $\endgroup$ – Peter Flom Jun 14 '18 at 14:14

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