The Attitude-Behavior Relationship: A Test of Three Models of the Moderating Role of Behavioral Difficulty

Kaiser, F., & Schultz, P. (2009, January). The attitude-behavior relationship: A test of three models of the moderating role of behavioral difficulty. Journal of Applied Social Psychology, 39(1), 186-207.

The moderating role of behavioral difficulty in the attitude–behavior relationship remains a controversial topic in social psychology. Previous research has been unclear in establishing the direction of this moderation, and 3 theoretical models have been proposed: positive and linear; negative and monotonic; and quadratic. The current paper reports analyses of survey data from 5 different studies that afford measures of environmental attitude, behavior, and behavioral difficulty. Across these studies, we found a substantial and unmoderated average attitude–behavior relationship (r = .54). The data also show that the attitude–behavior relationship is weaker for extremely easy and extremely difficult behaviors. Additional analyses suggest, however, that these reductions in the attitude–behavior relationship are probably because of methodological reasons.

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