Bridging the intention-behaviour 'gap
Bridging the intention-behaviour 'gap': The role of moral norm
Godin, G., Conner, M., & Sheeran, P. (2005). Bridging the intention-behaviour 'gap': The role of moral norm. The British Journal of Social Psychology, 44, 497-512.
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This research examined whether intentions aligned with moral norms better predict behaviour compared with intentions aligned with attitudes. Six data sets predicting behaviours in the health domain (smoking, driving over speed limit, applying universal precautions, exercising) were analysed. Moderated regression analysis indicated that participants whose intentions were more aligned with their moral norm were more likely to perform behaviours compared with participants whose intentions were more aligned with their attitude. However, further analysis indicated that this moderation effect was only present when participants construed the behaviour in moral terms. The findings suggest that the theory of planned behaviour should more clearly acknowledge the importance of internalized norms and self-expectations in the development of one's motivation to adopt a given behaviour.
Although the perceived moral correctness of a behaviour (or moral norm) has long been construed as an important direct (unmediated) determinant of behaviour (Schwartz, 1977), empirical support for this claim has been lacking. A great deal of research shows that moral norm predicts intentions to act; however, relatively few studies have demonstrated a direct impact of moral norms on behaviour. The present paper argues that the impact of moral norm on behaviour has been underestimated in past research because previous studies overlooked the potential moderating effect that moral norms may have on intention-behaviour relationships. The hypothesis tested here is that when intentions are formed on the basis of the perceived moral correctness of a behaviour, these intentions will better predict behaviour compared with intentions formed on the basis of consideration of the outcomes of the behaviour. Thus, perceived moral correctness may indeed have a significant impact on behaviour by rendering it more likely that intentions are translated successfully into action.
The theory of planned behaviour (TPB; Ajzen, 1991) is the dominant model for predicting and understanding health-related intentions and behaviour (see Abraham, Sheeran, & Johnson, 1998; Armitage & Conner, 2001; Conner & Sparks, 1996; Godin & Kok, 1996, for reviews). The TPB is an extension of Fishbein's (Fishbein & Ajzen, 1975) theory of reasoned action (TRA) which proposed that the most immediate and important predictor of behaviour is the person's decision or intention to perform it. According to the TRA, intention is determined by attitude and subjective norm. Attitude (Aact) refers to the person's overall evaluation of performing the behaviour, whereas subjective norm (SN) refers to perceptions of social pressure from significant others to perform the behaviour. However, the TRA was designed only to predict volitional behaviours, that is, behaviours over which the person has a good deal of control. To overcome this problem, Ajzen (1991) added the construct of perceived behavioural control to the original TRA to deal with determinants of human behaviour that are not under complete volitional control. The reformulated model was called the TPB and proposed that perceived behavioural control constitutes an additional predictor of intention alongside attitude and subjective norm, and of behaviour alongside intentions.
However, a growing body of research has supported the role of moral norm as a predictor of intentions (see Manstead, 2000) even when attitude, subjective norm and perceived behavioural control have been taken into account. For example, Parker, Manstead, and Stradling (1995) showed that moral norms enhanced the prediction of intentions to perform various driving behaviours over and above attitudes, subjective norms, and perceived behavioural control. Similarly, in applications of the TPB to five ecological behaviours, Harland, Staats, and Wilke (1999) found that the inclusion of moral norm increased the proportion of explained variance in intention. Studies of moral norm in the context of the TPB were reviewed by Conner and Armitage (1998) who estimated that across studies moral norms predicted an additional 4% of the variance in intentions after controlling for TPB predictors. Similarly, research on the theory of interpersonal behaviour (TIB; Triandis, 1980) has consistently shown that moral considerations, here termed personal normative beliefs, are significant predictors of intentions in the presence of other TIB predictors such as attitude (instrumental and affect dimensions), and normative and role beliefs. For example, personal normative beliefs were significant predictors of intentions to smoke only in designated work-site areas (Boissoneault & Godin, 1990), to use a condom with new partners among different ethnocultural groups (Godin et al., 1996), to adopt hormone replacement therapy among premenopausal women (Légaré et al., 2003) and to provide home care (Vermette & Godin, 1996). Thus, support for the idea that moral considerations are an important determinant of intentions to act appears to be well established for a range of behaviours.
With respect to the prediction of behaviour, the literature is neither so extensive nor so consistent. The vast majority of studies that showed an impact of moral norms on intentions did not show a similar impact on behaviour, at least when intentions were included in the analyses. Nevertheless, there are occasional studies demonstrating such a direct impact. For example, Godin, Gagnon, and Lambert (2003) showed that moral norm was a significant predictor of maintenance of regular condom use over a 2-year period among single heterosexual adults, along with intention and attitude. However, to date no research has tested the idea that moral norms affect behaviour by having a moderating effect on the consistency between intentions and behaviour.
It is important to be clear about how moderation by moral norm is conceptualized in the present analysis. In a standard moderator analysis, one would examine how the relationship between intention and behaviour varies as a function of the mean moral norm score. Thus, one might predict that individuals who have high moral norm scores show a stronger intention-behaviour relationship compared with those with low moral norm scores. Our hypothesis differs from this standard view of moderation. Our contention is that people who based their intentions to act on moral norms should be especially likely to realize those intentions. It is not the mean moral norm score per se that is the moderator variable, but rather the extent to which the person's behavioural decision is based on perceptions of moral correctness of the act. Thus, the hypothesis tested here is that intentions aligned on moral norm better predict behaviour compared with intentions aligned on attitude.
The idea that people differ in the extent to which their intentions are based on different considerations was proposed by Trafimow and Finlay (1996). Trafimow and Finlay used the strength of within-person correlations between intention and attitude and intention and subjective norm to designate whether participants were under 'attitudinal' versus 'normative control'. Findings indicated that the predictive validity of attitudes and subjective norms in traditional between-participants analyses depended substantially upon whether the person was attitudinally versus normatively controlled. Subjective norms had little or no relationship with intentions to perform specific behaviours when participants were attitudinally controlled, whereas attitudes were weak predictors of behavioural intentions when participants were normatively controlled. Thus, person type had an important impact upon whether or not attitudes and subjective norms influenced intentions.
Sheeran, Norman, and Orbell (1999) tested the implications of attitudinal versus normative control of intentions for the predictive validity of intentions (how well intentions were translated into action). Findings indicated that intentions based on attitudes better predicted behaviour than did intention based on subjective norms (see also Sheeran & Abraham, 2003). Sheeran et al. drew upon self-determination theory (SDT; e.g. Ryan, Sheldon, Kasser, & Deci, 1996) to explain this finding. The argument is that attitudinally controlled intentions are an expression of oneself and hence have considerable motivational impact. Normatively controlled intentions, on the other hand, are derived from the experience of social pressure, and consequently have a poorer impact on effort and persistence in realizing one's intentions.
It is important to note that normative control was conceptualized solely in terms of social pressure in Sheeran et al.'s (1999) analyses. However, numerous studies reviewed earlier indicate that moral considerations are an important additional normative influence on intention - and often more influential than subjective norm. Moreover, it is possible that intentions that are more aligned with one's moral norm are closer to the core self than intentions which are more aligned with one's attitudes (i.e. attitudinally controlled in Sheeran et al., 1999). Thus, morally aligned intentions could be associated with an enhanced intention-behaviour relationship.
Two theoretical frameworks offer grounds for hypothesizing that intentions based on moral norm will better predict behaviour than intentions based on attitude, namely, SDT (e.g. Ryan et al., 1996) and norm-activation theory (NAT; Schwartz, 1977). According to SDT, two types of motivation - termed autonomous and controlled support behavioural performances. These two sources of influence, however, are not conceptualized as equally important determinants of behaviour. Individuals with an autonomous source of motivation that is internally controlled are more likely to achieve goals than individuals who are motivated by external sources of control (e.g. in response to approval or punishment from significant others). Until now, to our knowledge, applications of SDT to the prediction of behaviour by TPB variables has only construed attitudes as the autonomous motivational source of behaviour. However, we argue that moral norm is an expression of the core self more so than is attitude, since the former refers to an individual's personal standards of conduct whereas the latter simply involved estimates of the likelihood of particular outcomes of performing the behaviour (that may have little to do with the self).
An attempt to conceptualize the way in which moral norms impact on behaviour can also be found in the NAT. Schwartz (1977) argues that it is likely that many individuals adopt specific behaviours by conviction, that is, because they feel a moral obligation to adopt them: 'individuals sometimes act in response to their own self-expectations, their own personal norms' (p. 231). According to NAT, a given behaviour is adopted not because of the expected outcomes of performance, but for more internalized feelings that can be captured by the concept of moral norm. Schwartz proposed that these personal norms are not experienced as intentions, but as feelings of moral obligation, and so can directly influence behaviour.
However, we would argue that the lack of support for a direct impact of moral norms on behaviour (in the presence of intentions) points to an alternative view, namely, that moral norms have an indirect impact on behaviour through strengthening intention. The idea is that intentions based on the moral correctness of the behaviour (morally aligned intentions) have greater motivational force than intentions based on the perceived consequences of acting (attitudinally aligned intentions). This is because moral considerations are more directly self-related than are considerations of behavioural outcomes. Whereas attitudes refer to evaluations based on outcome expectations (e.g. material, social, and/or psychological payoffs), personal norms focus exclusively on the evaluation of behaviours in terms of their moral worth to the self (Schwartz & Howard, 1984). According to SDT, intentions based on self-related beliefs will be more predictive of behaviour. Thus, people whose intentions are based on moral norms should exhibit increased effort and persistence (cf. Sheldon & Elliot, 1998) and therefore their intentions should better predict behaviour compared with intentions based on attitudes.1
Philosophical and empirical analyses of the belief types underpinning attitudes versus moral norms support the idea that moral considerations are more closely related to the core self than are attitudinal considerations. According to SDT, the 'core self is concerned with the fulfilment of the three basic human needs of autonomy, competence, and relatedness (Deci & Ryan, 2000). The two key belief types that underlie attitudes concern the affective and instrumental consequences of acting (Abelson, Kinder, Peters, & Fiske, 1982; Breckler, 1984; Breckler & Wiggins, 1989; Crites, Fabrigar, & Petty, 1994). That is, favourable attitudes should accrue from believing that the behaviour will give rise to positive feelings and/or believing that the behaviour will be instrumental in achieving valued outcomes (e.g. money, health). The key belief types that underlie moral norms, on the other hand, relate to the autonomy, beneficience (and nonmaleficience), and justice of the action (see Beauchamp & Childress, 1989, for conceptual derivation of these belief types; see Blondeau, Godin, Gagné, & Martineau, 2004, for evidence regarding discriminant and predictive validity). That is, moral norms will be stronger the more the action is thought to reflect individuals' liberty and uniqueness (autonomy), the more the action promotes the well-being of others and avoids hurt, harm or distress to others (beneficience and nonmalencience), and the more the action promotes equal or fair distribution of resources (justice). Attitudes may sometimes be based on considerations of autonomy, relatedness, and competence; however, more commonly attitudes will be concerned with other needs and motives. In contrast, autonomy and relatedness needs are integral to the development of moral norms (Beauchamp & Childress, 1989). Consequently, basing one's decisions on moral norms should better reflect the core self compared with basing one's decisions on attitude.
Thus, the present research investigates a new perspective on how internalized notions of right and wrong can impact on behaviour. The hypothesis tested here is that intentions will be significantly stronger predictors of behaviour among individuals who base their intentions predominantly on moral considerations compared with individuals who base their intentions on attitudes.
Five studies conducted in recent years were used to test our hypothesis. Each study concerned the adoption of a given behaviour in the domain of health and was carried out among different segments of the population and over different time intervals. A brief description of the sample and focal behaviour in each study is presented in Table 1.
Discriminant validity of moral norm versus attitude
All of the studies included standard measures of behaviour, intention, attitude, and moral norm (see Appendix for items). Principal components analysis (PCA), using oblimin rotation, was performed on the attitude, moral norm and intention items from each study to ensure that these three constructs possessed discriminant validity. Where necessary, items not loading on their respective construct were eliminated until a clear 3-factor solution was found. Table 2 depicts the PCA solution and psychometric qualities for intention, attitude and moral norm in the five studies.
Classification of respondents: Attitudinally versus morally aligned intentions
Participants were classified as having attitudinally versus morally aligned intentions based on whether their intention scores more closely matched attitude scores or more closely matched moral norm scores (cf. Sheeran & Abraham, 2003). More particularly, we computed the absolute difference between intention and attitude scores and between intention and moral norm scores for each participant. When moral norm scores were more discrepant from intention scores than were attitude scores, participants were deemed to have attitudinally aligned intentions. Conversely, when attitude scores were more discrepant from intention scores than were moral norm scores, participants were deemed to have morally aligned intentions. Using this criterion, 63-6% (N = 180), 57.9% (N = 44), 65.9% (N = 62), 52.6% (N = 51), and 77.9% (N = 194) of participants had morally aligned intentions in Studies 1-5, respectively.
Appropriateness of group classification
Table 3 shows the relative importance of attitude and moral norm for the prediction of intention among attitudinally versus morally aligned intention groups. With the exception of Study 5, the standardized regression coefficients indicate that moral norm is the most important determinant of intention among the morally aligned intention group. In all cases, attitude is the stronger determinant of behavioural intention among the attitudinally aligned intention group. These findings support the appropriateness of our classification of participants into attitudinally versus morally aligned intention groups.
Moderation of the intention-behaviour relationship by group classification
The moderator hypothesis was tested by means of moderated regression analysis (Baron & Kenny, 1986). Group was a dummy variable (1 = morally aligned intentions, 0 = attitudinally aligned intentions). Intention scores were standardized prior to computing the interaction term to reduce potential multicollinearity (Aiken & West, 1991). Table 4 shows that there was a significant positive interaction between group and intention for three of the five studies. Group moderated the intentionbehaviour relationship in studies of smoking, driving, and use of universal precautions but did not have a significant moderating effect in the two studies of physical activity. Simple slopes analyses for intention by group confirm this analysis (see Table 5). The significant interaction terms indicate that intentions are significantly better predictors of behaviour in the morally aligned intention group compared with the attitudinally aligned intention group for all of the behaviours except physical activity. These findings support our predictions for three out of the four different types of behaviour examined here.
SUPPLEMENTARY STUDY AND ANALYSES
Notwithstanding the significant difference in the predictive validity of intentions in the two groups (i.e. morally aligned intentions versus attitudinally aligned intentions), it was notable that the interaction was not significant for physical activity. In order to understand these non-significant effects, and to delineate more precisely when group is likely to moderate intention-behaviour relations, we conducted supplementary analyses with a new data set.
The new analyses were based on the idea that morally versus attitudinally aligned intentions can only be expected to exert moderator effects when participants view performance of the focal behaviour as a moral issue. We suspect that for certain behaviours (such as exercise) most people will not construe the behaviour as a moral issue, and consequently it will be difficult to observe a significant interaction between group and intentions among the sample as a whole. However, among participants who view exercise as a moral issue, we anticipate that the interaction term will be significant. The present study concerns physical activity. Thus, we predict that the interaction between group and intention will not be associated with behaviour when participants do not think of physical activity as a moral issue; conversely, we predict that the interaction will be significantly associated with behaviour when participants see physical activity in moral terms.
Participants were 56 undergraduates at the University of Sheffield who voluntarily completed two questionnaires about their physical activity over a 2-week period. The first questionnaire measured intention, moral norm, attitude, and perceived morality of the behaviour. Two weeks later, participants reported their behaviour.
Unless otherwise stated, all items were measured on 7-point scales. Intention was measured by two items (e.g. 'I intend to exercise at least six times in the next 2 weeks', definitely do-definitely don't) and proved reliable (α = .75). Attitude was measured by responses to the item, 'For me, exercising at least six times in the next 2 weeks would be. . .' on six bipolar scales (wise-foolish, enjoyable-unenjoyable, beneficial-harmful, intelligent-stupid, nice-nasty, pleasant-unpleasant) (α = .83). Moral norm was measured by two items: 'It would be against my moral principles not to exercise at least six times in the next 2 weeks' (definitely no-definitely, yes) and 'I have a moral obligation to exercise at least six times in the next 2 weeks' (definitely no-definitely yes) (α = .70). Perception of the behaviour as a moral issue was indexed by a single item: 'Do you believe that exercising at least six times in the next 2 weeks is a moral issue?' (5-point scale, definitely no-definitely yes). Behaviour at 2-week follow-up was measured by a single item: 'How many times have you engaged in exercise over the last 2 weeks?'
Intention group classification was computed in the same manner as for the main analyses. Thirty-seven percent of the sample (N = 20) were in the morally aligned intention group. To verify the appropriateness of this characterization, regressions of intention on moral norm and attitude were conducted separately for the two groups. Consistent with expectations, attitude was a very good predictor of intention (β = 0.77, p < .001) but moral norm was not (β = 0.14, ns) among the attitudinally aligned intention group (R = .85), whereas moral norm was a better predictor of intention (β = 0.61, p < .001) than was attitude (β = 0.33, p < .06) among the morally aligned intention group (R = .81). These findings suggest that the present classification of participants into attitudinally versus morally aligned intention groups is appropriate.
The next set of analyses examined intention group as a moderator of the intention-behaviour relationship. Behaviour was regressed on intentions, group, and their interaction in a three-step hierarchy. Findings indicated that intentions were a significant predictor of behaviour on the first step (β = 0.41, p < .02). However, neither group nor the interaction term enhanced the prediction of behaviour at steps two and three. The interaction between intention and group did not capture a significant increment in the variance (ΔF = 1.83, ns) nor significantly predicted behaviour (β = 0.29, p > .18) in the final equation. These findings are consistent with those obtained for physical activity in the main analyses - group does not moderate the intention-behaviour relationship among the sample as a whole.
The main hypothesis being tested here is that moderation by intention group will only occur when participants perceive the behaviour as a moral issue. To test this hypothesis, we followed the procedure recommended by Baron and Kenny (1986), and tested the significance of the interaction (between group and behavioural intention) at each level of the proposed moderator (perceived morality of the behaviour). That is, we divided participants above and below the median according to their perceptions of exercise as a moral issue (N = 18 and 38, respectively), and then tested the significance of the interaction term separately for the two groups.
As predicted, the intention by group interaction was reliably associated with behaviour when participants perceived the behaviour as a moral issue (β = 0.67, p < .004) but not when the behaviour was perceived otherwise (β = 0.22, p > .20) and this difference was significant (Z = 1.90, p = .028, one-tailed). Thus, moderation of the intention-behaviour relationship by group depends upon whether participants perceive the focal behaviour as a moral issue. To corroborate this analysis, we computed simple slopes for the regression of behaviour on intention for the morally aligned intention group who either perceived the behaviour in moral terms or did not perceive the behaviour in moral terms. Findings indicated that intentions were not a significant predictor of exercise behaviour in the morally aligned intention group among participants who perceived exercise as having little to do with personal morality (β = 0.40, p = .17). However, when participants in the morally aligned intention group perceived the behaviour as a moral issue, then intentions were a highly significant predictor of behaviour (β = 0.92, p < .003). In sum, intention group is an important determinant of consistency between people's intentions and their behaviour, provided people perceive performance of the focal behaviour in moral terms.
The present research provides the first demonstration that moral norms have an important impact upon whether people enact their intentions. We reasoned that people's sense of personal obligation to perform a behaviour would influence the motivational force of intention in terms of the likelihood that decision would be translated into action. Findings from studies of three different behaviours among different samples over different time intervals supported this prediction. Participants whose intentions were predominantly based on moral norm were more likely to perform respective health behaviours than were participants whose intentions were predominantly based on attitude.
However, we also obtained an unexpected finding, namely, that intention group (morally aligned intentions versus attitudinally aligned intentions) did not moderate the intention-behaviour relationship in the case of exercise. To understand this finding, we conducted an additional study that assessed perceived morality of the behaviour as a factor influencing our moderator hypothesis. Findings support the view that intention group moderates intention-behaviour consistency - but only when people construe the behaviour in moral terms. Thus, the present research indicates that intention group is especially likely to influence decision enactment among people in the subsample who view a focal behaviour as having moral relevance.
It is worth noting that this finding is congruent with Schwartz's (1977) analysis of circumstances when norms are likely to especially influence behaviour: 'Feelings of moral obligation are generated in particular situations by the activation of the individual's cognitive structure of norms and values' (p. 277). Our findings showed that physical activity is a context in which moral normative considerations feelings are not activated for most people, and consequently moderation of the intention-behaviour relationship was not obtained among the sample as a whole. Of course, the present research does not indicate why some participants view exercise in moral terms whereas others do not. One possibility that could be derived from Verplanken and Holland's (2002) research on values is that behaviours are most likely to be construed in moral terms when the respective actions both activate central values and direct attention towards the self. Thus, an important avenue for future studies will be to establish a more fine-grained analysis of the contexts where moral norms are activated. In addition it would be valuable to examine what factors explain individual differences in the perceived morality of behaviours in order to understand when moral norm is most likely to influence intention-behaviour relationships.
The findings also suggest questions of theoretical interest for both the TRA/TPB and SDT. First, the TRA/TPB should more clearly acknowledge the importance of internalized norms and self-expectations in the development of one's motivation to adopt a given behaviour. In the same way that Sheeran et al. (1999) showed that people differ in the tendency to have attitudinally aligned intentions versus (subjective) normatively aligned intentions, the present results indicate that intentions can also be aligned with moral norms. Importantly, morally aligned intentions had greater impact on behaviour than did attitudinally aligned intentions. Thus, the present research indicates that researchers should be careful to distinguish between morally aligned intentions and normatively aligned intentions in making comparisons with attitudinally aligned intention groups.
Second, with respect to the SDT, the findings suggest some interesting possible implications. For instance, it can be argued that moral norm to act may reflect either an external pressure (that is, a controlled motivation to act) or reflect the core self (that is, an autonomous motivation to act). The latter interpretation would make the present findings consistent with SDT, particularly if morally aligned intentions are considered a more autonomous source of motivation than attitudinally aligned intentions. However, there is also a good basis to the former interpretation of moral norms or obligations. The felt obligation to act can be viewed as the expression of external sources of motivation that take the form of anticipated regret or feelings of guilt about not taking action (Parker et al., 1995) and/or fear of punishment from religious authorities or a vengeful deity. If this was the case, the present findings would suggest that contrary to one of the basic SDT assumptions, an autonomous source of motivation (as reflected by attitude) does not better predict behaviour than a controlled source of motivation (i.e. morally aligned intentions that are externally motivated). It is not the intent of this paper to claim the superiority of one interpretation above the other, but this tenet of the SDT might be well worth pursuing in future research.
The present findings also have practical implications for interventions. One practical consequence is that interventions to promote behavioural changes should consider morally aligned intentions as well as attitudinally aligned intentions, particularly when there is reason to believe that either the behaviour under study has moral implications (e.g. giving blood, driving under the influence of alcohol, consent to organ donation) or the studied population might attribute moral value to a given action (e.g. not smoking among pregnant women, adherence to medication among HIV patients, exercising among coronary heart disease individuals). Consequently, if the population of concern contains a large percentage of individuals whose intentions are morally aligned, interventions should focus on increasing the strength of moral norm, that is, the felt obligation to act. For these morally aligned intention individuals, the predictive validity of their intentions should increase as moral norms become stronger. In contrast, if the population's intentions are not morally aligned, or if the behaviours of interest are not primarily determined by moral norm, then an intervention could try to make people focus more on moral considerations in forming their intentions, for example, by making people aware of others' needs (e.g. people suffering from haemophilia) and increasing the perception that adoption of the target behaviour could relieve others' needs (e.g. blood donation). However, before adopting this approach, one must be aware that 'feelings of moral obligation can be neutralized prior to overt action by defences against the relevance or appropriateness of the obligation' (Schwartz, 1977, p. 277). Indeed, people can inhibit feelings of moral obligation by attributing different types of nonmoral costs to an action, or by concluding that adoption of the target behaviour is futile when faced with overwhelming need and the perception that the situation is beyond hope.
It is important to mention a number of limitations to our research. One limitation concerns the limited number of studies that were used for the present analysis. Obviously, more studies are needed to confirm the present observations. However, we see no reason not to expect the present findings to generalized beyond the health behaviours considered here. A second limitation of the research is the dependence on self-report measures of behaviour. A third limitation to our analyses is the correlational nature of our analyses. Experimental studies that manipulate whether or not moral norms are activated would provide a better test of the importance of this construct in the formation of intention and the prediction of behaviour. In sum, the present research has acknowledged shortcomings that should be addressed in future studies.
Nonetheless, despite the above limitations, the present research has provided strong evidence that, for morally relevant behaviours, the 'intention-behaviour gap' (Sheeran, 2002) can be explained, at least in part, by the basis of intention formation. That is, individuals whose intentions are based on moral norms are more likely to enact intended behaviour than are individuals whose intentions are based on attitude. Thus, the extent to which the person's behavioural decision is derived from perceptions of moral correctness of the act is an important moderator of the intention-behaviour relationship.
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1 The present analysis construes intentions aligned with attitude - and not intentions aligned with subjective norm - as the salient reference category for people whose intentions are aligned on moral norm, for two reasons. First, it has repeatedly been demonstrated that people are much more likely to hold intentions aligned with attitude rather than subjective norm (e.g. Trafimow & Finlay, 1996). Second, it is well established that attitudinally aligned intention is associated with improved prediction of behaviour by intention compared with intention aligned with subjective norm (e.g. Sheeran & Abraham, 2003). Thus, it seems safe to assume that if morally aligned intentions are better predictors of behaviour than attitudinally aligned intentions, these intentions should also outperform intentions aligned with subjective norm.