If I am writing this for the first time in an article -
The associations between factor A and factor B were found to be normal.
Now, I had not discussed any thing about the type of associations that the specifies before the quoted sentence. But if I write about the associations just after that sentence, in the very next line so that a reader can connect and understand, is it be correct to use the? We are told to use the for a noun that has been already discussed.