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Changing Attitude and Moral Obligation: Their Independent Effects on Behavior

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It was hypothesized that the study of religion should distinguish between attitudes and religious values/moral obligations such that both aid in predicting religiously relevant behavior and changing either will change behavior. However, if they are distinct, then changing one will not necessarily change the other. For the 195 religious participants, attitudes predicted a church-sponsored blood donation and moral obligations increased that prediction. Using both posttest only and pre-post control group designs, an intervention to shift the effect underlying the attitude increased participants' attitude and donating behavior while a religious values intervention increased moral obligations and behavior. Zero to 4 percent of the control groups donated blood, while 13 to 48 percent of the intervention groups donated blood. Results confirm that psychology of religion should distinguish moral obligations from attitude because (1) additional prediction, (2) changing one does not necessarily change the other, and (3) changes based on religious values impact moral obligations.

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/0021-8294.00072

Affiliations: 1: Willow Creek Community Church, 67 East Algonquin Road, South Barrington, Illinois 60010., 2: Graduate School of Psychology, Fuller Theological Seminary, 180 N. Oakland Ave., Pasadena, California 91101., Email: rgorsuch@fuller.edu 3: Graduate School of Psychology, Fuller Theological Seminary, 180 N. Oakland Ave., Pasadena, California 91101.

Publication date: September 1, 2001

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