Attitude and Behavior (Encyclopedia of Psychology)
Attitude is a feeling, belief, or opinion of approval or disapproval towards something. Behavior is an action or reaction that occurs in response to an event or internal stimuli (i.e., thought).
People hold complex relationships between attitudes and behavior that are further complicated by the social factors influencing both. Behaviors usually, but not always, reflect established beliefs and attitudes. For example, a man who believes strongly in abstinence before marriage may choose to remain a virgin until his wedding night. Under other circumstances, that same man may engage in premarital sex despite his convictions after being influenced by social messages that his masculinity is dependent on sexual activity.
Ideally, positive attitudes manifest well-adjusted behaviors. However, in some cases healthy attitudes may result in harmful behavior. For example, someone may remain in an abusive and potentially deadly domestic situation because they hold negative attitudes towards divorce.
Behavior can be influenced by a number of factors beyond attitude, including preconceptions about self and others, monetary factors, social influences (what peers and community members are saying and doing), and convenience. Someone may have strong convictions about improving the public school system in their town, but if...
(The entire section is 876 words.)
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