Attitude Strength: One Construct or Many Related Constructs?

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A variety of attributes differentiate attitudes that are stable and consequential from those that are not, including extremity, certainty, importance, knowledge, intensity, interest, direct experience, accessibility, latitudes of rejection and noncommitment, and affective–cognitive consistency. Although these dimensions are clearly conceptually and operationally distinct from one another, researchers have often assumed that some are interchangeable, or that two or more reflect common higher-order constructs. Three studies using multitrait-multimethod confirmatory factor analysis assessed the relations among these dimensions. Although some of these dimensions are strongly related, most are not, and a multifactor model seems necessary to account for their intercorrelations. Thus, it seems most sensible to think of all of these dimensions as distinct rather than as multiple manifestations of a smaller set of underlying attributes.

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