BACKGROUND: There are a growing number of studies using mediation analysis to understand the mechanisms of health interventions and exposures. Recent work has shown that the reporting of these studies is heterogenous and incomplete. This problem stifles clinical application, reproducibility, and evidence synthesis. This paper describes the processes and methods that will be used to develop a guideline for reporting studies of mediation analyses (AGReMA). METHODS/DESIGN: AGReMA will be developed over five overlapping stages. Stage one will comprise a systematic review to examine relevant evidence on the quality of reporting in published studies that use mediation analysis. In the second stage we will consult a group of methodologists and applied researchers by using a Delphi process to identify items that should be considered for inclusion in AGReMA. The third stage will involve a consensus meeting to consolidate and prioritise key items to be included in AGReMA. The fourth stage will involve the production of AGReMA and an accompanying explanation and elaboration document. In the final stage we will disseminate the AGReMA statement via journals, conferences, and professional meetings across multiple disciplines. DISCUSSION: The development and implementation of AGReMA will improve the standardization, transparency, and completeness in the reporting of studies that use mediation analysis to understand the mechanisms of health interventions and exposures.
Bmc med res methodol
Mechanisms, Mediation analysis, Reporting guideline