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Since starting this course, you have explored the relationship between attitudes and behavior. Research has shown that numerous factors can influence the strength and consistency of this relationship. These factors include, but are not limited to, attitude strength, attitude function, individual personality variables, and issues of research design and measurement.
For this Discussion, select an attitude you currently hold. Consider the various factors that affect your own attitude-behavior consistency.
📍 Post 1 (Write a 50-100 words response)
Healthy weight. For the purpose of this discussion, I have chosen to elaborate on my attitude regarding maintaining a healthy weight.
Consistency between my behaviors and attitude. There is a lack of consistency between my attitude and behavior when it comes to maintaining a healthy weight. My healthy weight attitude was formed and positively reinforced through many years of direct personal experience with healthy weight. However, since the loss of our son two years ago, I have struggled to maintain a healthy weight for a variety of reasons. My attitude towards weight has not changed, but I believe the attitude has gotten weaker, thus making it more difficult to carry out the behaviors necessary to maintain a healthy weight.
Two factors that affect this attitude-behavior relationship. Kraus (1995) explains that when there is consistency between the affective component (i.e., I have positive feelings about healthy weight) and the cognitive component (i.e., I believe healthy weight is essential) that the attitudes are usually stronger. I believe that there is a lack of consistency because I am unclear as to whether I worry, if you will, as much about healthy weight (my feelings) as much as I believe healthy weight is important. A second factor that could be affecting the consistency between the attitude and behavior is that there was a long period for which I thought little about this issue (a time interval), and during this time interval, the attitude became weaker. Davidson and Jaccard (1979) explain that the process that occurs when there is a time interval (i.e., exposure to new information) between the original attitude measurement and the behavior, the more room for attitude change. Finally, I have undergone some psychological changes in the past couple of years which may have affected the strength of the attitude and how accessible it is to me all the time.
Attitude strength. I stated above, I believe the attitude has become weaker recently making it challenging to carry-out specific behaviors. The lack of strength in the attitude varies during the day, and I find when it is late at night, and I am tired, I am most likely to eat unhealthily (a behavior inconsistent with the attitude).
Challenge attitude researchers face in predicting behaviors. The research indicates that there are mixed results regarding the certainty of attitudes predicting behaviors. For instance, in 1969 Wicker (Davidson & Jaccard, 1979) completed a comprehensive study that posited that there was little or no relationship between attitudes and overt behaviors. However, recent studies have indicated that there is a relationship when attitudes are easily retrieved from memory, are expressed repeatedly, and the individual has direct experience with the object (Glasman & Albarracin, 2006). The biggest challenge researchers have is making sure that their research methodology is comprehensive, specific and rigorous. If a researcher wants to understand how attitudes predict behavior, both must be measured at the same specificity (DeBono, 2013).
Davidson, A. R. & Jaccard, J. J. (1979). Variables that moderate the attitude-behavior relation: Results of a longitudinal survey. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 37(8), 1364-1376.
DeBono, K. (2013). Attitude-behavior consistency. Salem Press Encyclopedia of Health. Retrieved from Walden Library databases.
Glasman, L. R. & Albarracin, D. (2006). Forming attitudes that predict future behavior: A meta-analysis of the attitude-behavior relation. Psychological Bulletin, 132(5), 778-822.
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