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

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Five different health behaviors (cigarette use, alcohol use, binge eating, illicit drug use, and drunk driving) were studied prospectively in 5 different groups of subjects. Associations between attitudes toward these behaviors and the behaviors themselves were investigated over at least 2 waves of measurement. Findings revealed that attitudes predicted behavior nonspuriously in 2 instances: alcohol use and marijuana use. Attitudes did not predict drunk driving, binge eating, or smoking behaviors. Past behavior predicted attitude in the domains of binge eating and smoking, but not in the domains of alcohol use, drunk driving, or marijuana use. The results are discussed in terms of several alternative approaches that have implications for interventions that attempt to influence health behavior through attitude change.

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