Pearson correlation - overview

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Pearson correlation
Logistic regression
Variable 1Independent variables
One quantitative of interval or ratio levelOne or more quantitative of interval or ratio level and/or one or more categorical with independent groups, transformed into code variables
Variable 2Dependent variable
One quantitative of interval or ratio levelOne categorical with 2 independent groups
Null hypothesisNull hypothesis
H0: $\rho = \rho_0$

Here $\rho$ is the Pearson correlation in the population, and $\rho_0$ is the Pearson correlation in the population according to the null hypothesis (usually 0). The Pearson correlation is a measure for the strength and direction of the linear relationship between two variables of at least interval measurement level.
Model chi-squared test for the complete regression model:
  • H0: $\beta_1 = \beta_2 = \ldots = \beta_K = 0$
Wald test for individual regression coefficient $\beta_k$:
  • H0: $\beta_k = 0$
    or in terms of odds ratio:
  • H0: $e^{\beta_k} = 1$
Likelihood ratio chi-squared test for individual regression coefficient $\beta_k$:
  • H0: $\beta_k = 0$
    or in terms of odds ratio:
  • H0: $e^{\beta_k} = 1$
in the regression equation $ \ln \big(\frac{\pi_{y = 1}}{1 - \pi_{y = 1}} \big) = \beta_0 + \beta_1 \times x_1 + \beta_2 \times x_2 + \ldots + \beta_K \times x_K $. Here $ x_i$ represents independent variable $ i$, $\beta_i$ is the regression weight for independent variable $ x_i$, and $\pi_{y = 1}$ represents the true probability that the dependent variable $ y = 1$ (or equivalently, the proportion of $ y = 1$ in the population) given the scores on the independent variables.
Alternative hypothesisAlternative hypothesis
H1 two sided: $\rho \neq \rho_0$
H1 right sided: $\rho > \rho_0$
H1 left sided: $\rho < \rho_0$
Model chi-squared test for the complete regression model:
  • H1: not all population regression coefficients are 0
Wald test for individual regression coefficient $\beta_k$:
  • H1: $\beta_k \neq 0$
    or in terms of odds ratio:
  • H1: $e^{\beta_k} \neq 1$
    If defined as Wald $ = \dfrac{b_k}{SE_{b_k}}$ (see 'Test statistic'), also one sided alternatives can be tested:
  • H1 right sided: $\beta_k > 0$
  • H1 left sided: $\beta_k < 0$
Likelihood ratio chi-squared test for individual regression coefficient $\beta_k$:
  • H1: $\beta_k \neq 0$
    or in terms of odds ratio:
  • H1: $e^{\beta_k} \neq 1$
Assumptions of test for correlationAssumptions
  • In the population, the two variables are jointly normally distributed (this covers the normality, homoscedasticity, and linearity assumptions)
  • Sample of pairs is a simple random sample from the population of pairs. That is, pairs are independent of one another
Note: these assumptions are only important for the significance test and confidence interval, not for the correlation coefficient itself. The correlation coefficient just measures the strength of the linear relationship between two variables.
  • In the population, the relationship between the independent variables and the log odds $\ln (\frac{\pi_{y=1}}{1 - \pi_{y=1}})$ is linear
  • The residuals are independent of one another
Often ignored additional assumption:
  • Variables are measured without error
Also pay attention to:
  • Multicollinearity
  • Outliers
Test statisticTest statistic
Test statistic for testing H0: $\rho = 0$:
  • $t = \dfrac{r \times \sqrt{N - 2}}{\sqrt{1 - r^2}} $
    where $r$ is the sample correlation $r = \frac{1}{N - 1} \sum_{j}\Big(\frac{x_{j} - \bar{x}}{s_x} \Big) \Big(\frac{y_{j} - \bar{y}}{s_y} \Big)$ and $N$ is the sample size
Test statistic for testing values for $\rho$ other than $\rho = 0$:
  • $z = \dfrac{r_{Fisher} - \rho_{0_{Fisher}}}{\sqrt{\dfrac{1}{N - 3}}}$
    • $r_{Fisher} = \dfrac{1}{2} \times \log\Bigg(\dfrac{1 + r}{1 - r} \Bigg )$, where $r$ is the sample correlation
    • $\rho_{0_{Fisher}} = \dfrac{1}{2} \times \log\Bigg( \dfrac{1 + \rho_0}{1 - \rho_0} \Bigg )$, where $\rho_0$ is the population correlation according to H0
Model chi-squared test for the complete regression model:
  • $X^2 = D_{null} - D_K = \mbox{null deviance} - \mbox{model deviance} $
    $D_{null}$, the null deviance, is conceptually similar to the total variance of the dependent variable in OLS regression analysis. $D_K$, the model deviance, is conceptually similar to the residual variance in OLS regression analysis.
Wald test for individual $\beta_k$:
The wald statistic can be defined in two ways:
  • Wald $ = \dfrac{b_k^2}{SE^2_{b_k}}$
  • Wald $ = \dfrac{b_k}{SE_{b_k}}$
SPSS uses the first definition.

Likelihood ratio chi-squared test for individual $\beta_k$:
  • $X^2 = D_{K-1} - D_K$
    $D_{K-1}$ is the model deviance, where independent variable $k$ is excluded from the model. $D_{K}$ is the model deviance, where independent variable $k$ is included in the model.
Sampling distribution of $t$ and of $z$ if H0 were trueSampling distribution of $X^2$ and of the Wald statistic if H0 were true
Sampling distribution of $t$:
  • $t$ distribution with $N - 2$ degrees of freedom
Sampling distribution of $z$:
  • Approximately the standard normal distribution
Sampling distribution of $X^2$, as computed in the model chi-squared test for the complete model:
  • chi-squared distribution with $K$ (number of independent variables) degrees of freedom
Sampling distribution of the Wald statistic:
  • If defined as Wald $ = \dfrac{b_k^2}{SE^2_{b_k}}$: approximately the chi-squared distribution with 1 degree of freedom
  • If defined as Wald $ = \dfrac{b_k}{SE_{b_k}}$: approximately the standard normal distribution
Sampling distribution of $X^2$, as computed in the likelihood ratio chi-squared test for individual $\beta_k$:
  • chi-squared distribution with 1 degree of freedom
Significant?Significant?
$t$ Test two sided: $t$ Test right sided: $t$ Test left sided: $z$ Test two sided: $z$ Test right sided: $z$ Test left sided: For the model chi-squared test for the complete regression model and likelihood ratio chi-squared test for individual $\beta_k$:
  • Check if $X^2$ observed in sample is equal to or larger than critical value $X^{2*}$ or
  • Find $p$ value corresponding to observed $X^2$ and check if it is equal to or smaller than $\alpha$
For the Wald test:
  • If defined as Wald $ = \dfrac{b_k^2}{SE^2_{b_k}}$: same procedure as for the chi-squared tests. Wald can be interpret as $X^2$
  • If defined as Wald $ = \dfrac{b_k}{SE_{b_k}}$: same procedure as for any $z$ test. Wald can be interpreted as $z$.
Approximate $C$% confidence interval for $\rho$Wald-type approximate $C\%$ confidence interval for $\beta_k$
First compute the approximate $C$% confidence interval for $\rho_{Fisher}$:
  • $lower_{Fisher} = r_{Fisher} - z^* \times \sqrt{\dfrac{1}{N - 3}}$
  • $upper_{Fisher} = r_{Fisher} + z^* \times \sqrt{\dfrac{1}{N - 3}}$
where $r_{Fisher} = \frac{1}{2} \times \log\Bigg(\dfrac{1 + r}{1 - r} \Bigg )$ and the critical value $z^*$ is the value under the normal curve with the area $C / 100$ between $-z^*$ and $z^*$ (e.g. $z^*$ = 1.96 for a 95% confidence interval).
Then transform back to get the approximate $C$% confidence interval for $\rho$:
  • lower bound = $\dfrac{e^{2 \times lower_{Fisher}} - 1}{e^{2 \times lower_{Fisher}} + 1}$
  • upper bound = $\dfrac{e^{2 \times upper_{Fisher}} - 1}{e^{2 \times upper_{Fisher}} + 1}$
$b_k \pm z^* \times SE_{b_k}$
where the critical value $z^*$ is the value under the normal curve with the area $C / 100$ between $-z^*$ and $z^*$ (e.g. $z^*$ = 1.96 for a 95% confidence interval).
Properties of the Pearson correlation coefficientGoodness of fit measure $R^2_L$
  • The Pearson correlation coefficient is a measure for the linear relationship between two quantitative variables.
  • The Pearson correlation coefficient squared reflects the proportion of variance explained in one variable by the other variable.
  • The Pearson correlation coefficient can take on values between -1 (perfect negative relationship) and 1 (perfect positive relationship). A value of 0 means no linear relationship.
  • The absolute size of the Pearson correlation coefficient is not affected by any linear transformation of the variables. However, the sign of the Pearson correlation will flip when the scores on one of the two variables are multiplied by a negative number (reversing the direction of measurement of that variable).
    For example:
    • the correlation between $x$ and $y$ is equivalent to the correlation between $3x + 5$ and $2y - 6$.
    • the absolute value of the correlation between $x$ and $y$ is equivalent to the absolute value of the correlation between $-3x + 5$ and $2y - 6$. However, the signs of the two correlation coefficients will be in opposite directions, due to the multiplication of $x$ by $-3$.
  • The Pearson correlation coefficient does not say anything about causality.
  • The Pearson correlation coefficient is sensitive to outliers.
$R^2_L = \dfrac{D_{null} - D_K}{D_{null}}$
There are several other goodness of fit measures in logistic regression. In logistic regression, there is no single agreed upon measure of goodness of fit.
Equivalent ton.a.
OLS regression with one independent variable:
  • $b_1 = r \times \frac{s_y}{s_x}$
  • Results significance test ($t$ and $p$ value) testing $H_0$: $\beta_1 = 0$ are equivalent to results significance test testing $H_0$: $\rho = 0$
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Example contextExample context
Is there a linear relationship between physical health and mental health?Can body mass index, stress level, and gender predict whether people get diagnosed with diabetes?
SPSSSPSS
Analyze > Correlate > Bivariate...
  • Put your two variables in the box below Variables
Analyze > Regression > Binary Logistic...
  • Put your dependent variable in the box below Dependent and your independent (predictor) variables in the box below Covariate(s)
JamoviJamovi
Regression > Correlation Matrix
  • Put your two variables in the white box at the right
  • Under Correlation Coefficients, select Pearson (selected by default)
  • Under Hypothesis, select your alternative hypothesis
Regression > 2 Outcomes - Binomial
  • Put your dependent variable in the box below Dependent Variable and your independent variables of interval/ratio level in the box below Covariates
  • If you also have code (dummy) variables as independent variables, you can put these in the box below Covariates as well
  • Instead of transforming your categorical independent variable(s) into code variables, you can also put the untransformed categorical independent variables in the box below Factors. Jamovi will then make the code variables for you 'behind the scenes'
Practice questionsPractice questions