1932

Abstract

Partialing is a statistical approach researchers use with the goal of removing extraneous variance from a variable before examining its association with other variables. Controlling for confounds through analysis of covariance or multiple regression analysis and residualizing variables for use in subsequent analyses are common approaches to partialing in clinical research. Despite its intuitive appeal, partialing is fraught with undesirable consequences when predictors are correlated. After describing effects of partialing on variables, we review analytic approaches commonly used in clinical research to make inferences about the nature and effects of partialed variables. We then use two simulations to show how partialing can distort variables and their relations with other variables. Having concluded that, with rare exception, partialing is ill-advised, we offer recommendations for reducing or eliminating problematic uses of partialing. We conclude that the best alternative to partialing is to define and measure constructs so that it is not needed.

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2023-05-09
2024-06-18
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