I'm having trouble interpreting the result of a moderation analysis using the PROCESS macro in SPSS. The following is the structure of the data:
Predictor, outcome, and moderator are all continuous. All assumptions verified. Initially I conducted a single moderator analysis in one group of a fourth categorical variable (n = 56). The interaction was significant. My original hypothesis was that this moderation would differ between groups (3 level categorical variable), so at first I repeated the simple moderation within each group (i.e., 3 times). The other two groups did not show a significant moderation effect.
However, I eventually figured out I should be examining this question with a moderated moderation by looking at whether the original simple moderation is moderated by the three-level categorical variable. Once I ran that, the highest-order three-way interaction was not significant.
I'm having trouble interpreting this since the two-way interaction (i.e., simple moderation) appears to be different across the three categorical groups (significant in one, not significant in the other two), but the three way interaction is not significant. If it is the case that there are qualitative differences in the two-way effect, but they are not statistically significant, then can the significant simple moderation (two way interaction) in one of the groups be interpreted as a finding or is it meaningless without a significant three-way interaction?