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Attitudes, intention and habit: their role in predicting actual consumption of fats and oils

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Objective: To explore which are the most important predictors of actual consumption of olive oil, seeds oil and butter.Method: A sample of 909 subjects (> 14 years of age) completed a questionnaire assessing attitudes and beliefs towards the consumption of olive oil, seeds oil and butter. These subjects were part of a larger sample of individuals who participated in a nation-wide food consumption survey in Italy. The frame of reference for questionnaire design was based on the Ajzen & Fishbein theory of reasoned action. Also, a measure of habit was included. The Ajzen & Fishbein model including habit was evaluated by using Structural Equation Models, well-known as LISREL procedures.Results: Principal component analyses of the beliefs multiplied by the corresponding evaluations showed that the beliefs were not unitary but tended to differentiate between `beliefs on healthiness of foods' and `beliefs on gaining weight' for olive and seeds oil, whereas more homogeneous beliefs were observed for butter. Intention was found to have a positive and significant effect on the consumption of each of the three types of foods. Habit outweighed attitudes in the impact on intention of consuming, whereas it did not enter as a direct predictor of behaviour for all three types of food.Conclusions: The findings of the present study confirm the predictive validity of behavioural intention in relation to the observation of actual consumption of olive oil, seeds oil and butter. Also, it shows that habit was more important than attitudes in influencing behavioural intention.

Keywords: actual consumption; attitudes; beliefs; fats; habit; oils

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Istituto Nazionale della Nutrizione, via Ardeatina 546, 00178 Rome, Italy

Publication date: 1998-02-01

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