On the nature of attitude-behavior relations: The strong guide, the weak follow

R W Holland, B Verplanken, A van Knippenberg

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151 Citations (SciVal)


This study investigated the role of attitude strength as a moderator variable with regard to the direction of the relation between attitudes and behavior The hypothesis was tested that strong attitudes guide behavior, whereas weak attitudes follow behavior in accordance with self-perception principles. The study (N = 106) consisted of two sessions. In session 1, attitudes and attitude strength (certainty, importance, centrality) towards Greenpeace were measured. One week later, participants returned to the laboratory (session 2) and were given the opportunity to donate money to Greenpeace. After the decision to donate money or not, attitudes towards Greenpeace were measured again. The results were consistent with the predictions. First, strong attitudes were more predictive of donation behavior than weak attitudes. Moreover session 2 attitudes of weak attitude participants were influenced by their donation behavior whereas no such effect was found among strong attitude participants. Finally, strong attitudes were also found to be more stable over time than weak attitudes. The results provide a complete overview of the moderating role of attitude strength with regard to the bi-directional attitude-behavior relationship. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2006 APA, all rights reserved)
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)869-876
Number of pages8
JournalEuropean Journal of Social Psychology
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2002


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