I like it but I don't: attitudinal ambivalence and addictive behaviours

Lindsay, D., and Swinbourne, A.L. (2014) I like it but I don't: attitudinal ambivalence and addictive behaviours. International Journal of Behavioral Medicine, 21 (Supplement 1). S152-S153.

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Introduction: Attitudinal ambivalence occurs when individuals endorse both positive and negative attitudes toward the same target object. Ambivalent attitudes are particularly relevant for addictive behaviours, as these behaviours may have both positive and negative evaluations associated with them. For example, drinking alcohol may make someone relaxed but can also produce feelings of nausea. Despite this, the majority of research focused on attitudes toward addictive behaviours assume that these attitudes are either positive or negative, not positive and negative. By assessing ambivalence toward addictive behaviours, a greater understanding of the nature of attitudes underlying these behaviours can be realised.

Method: A total of 247 participants (M= 28.76 years) took part in this study. A measure of potential ambivalence, which asks participants to indicate their positive and negative evaluations on split semantic differential scales, was completed for five different health behaviours: drinking on a weekday and a weekend, exercising, increasing fruit and vegetable intake and smoking.

Results: Attitudes toward alcohol consumption were found to be the most ambivalent. When examining drinking behaviour, a pattern emerged suggesting that the greater the quantity of alcohol consumed, the more ambivalent participants were toward drinking. Similar patterns were found for smoking.

Conclusions: The results suggest that attitudinal ambivalence is an important aspect of addictive behaviours, as participants engaging in greater levels of these behaviours also reported higher levels of ambivalence. This indicates that individuals are aware of the positives and negatives of addictive behaviours but continue to perform them anyway.

Item ID: 37721
Item Type: Article (Abstract)
ISSN: 1532-7558
Date Deposited: 31 Mar 2015 05:19
FoR Codes: 17 PSYCHOLOGY AND COGNITIVE SCIENCES > 1701 Psychology > 170106 Health, Clinical and Counselling Psychology @ 50%
17 PSYCHOLOGY AND COGNITIVE SCIENCES > 1702 Cognitive Science > 170202 Decision Making @ 50%
SEO Codes: 92 HEALTH > 9202 Health and Support Services > 920205 Health Education and Promotion @ 10%
92 HEALTH > 9204 Public Health (excl. Specific Population Health) > 920414 Substance Abuse @ 90%
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