Attitudes and Health Behavior in Diverse Populations: Drunk Driving, Alcohol Use, Binge Eating, Marijuana Use, and Cigarette Use.

Document Type



Community and Global Health (CGU)

Publication Date



Health Psychology | Substance Abuse and Addiction


Programs designed to promote changes in health behavior frequently include components that attempt to change attitudes concerning the targeted behavior. Sometimes the focus on attitude change is an explicit component, in which an individual's evaluations of the behavior are targeted. In other cases, as in many educational media campaigns (e.g., Flay, 1987), several key or “salient” beliefs are the focus of the strategy, which more implicitly attempts attitude change by first trying to change beliefs (cf. Ajzen & Fishbein, 1980). Programs that provide information about the harmful consequences of smoking, the dangers of drunk driving, or the necessity of a balanced diet often represent, implicitly or explicitly, an attempt to change behavior through attitude change. These programs may focus on harmful outcomes of a negative health behavior, attempting to make personal evaluations (attitude) of the behavior more negative, or on beneficial outcomes of a positive health behavior, attempting to make evaluations of the healthy behavior more positive. Because of the widespread use and potential of attitude concepts in health-behavior research and interventions, it is important to document the predictive impact of this construct and to integrate theories of health behavior with empirical findings.

Rights Information

© 1994 American Psychological Association