Does changing behavioral intentions engender behavior change? : a meta-analysis of the experimental evidence.

Webb, T.L. & Sheeran, P.

Numerous theories in social and health psychology assume that intentions cause behaviours. However, most tests of the intention- behaviour relation involve correlational studies that preclude causal inferences. In order to determine whether changes in behavioural intention engender behaviour change, participants should be assigned randomly to a treatment that significantly increases the strength of respective intentions relative to a control condition, and differences in subsequent behaviour should be compared. The present research obtained 47 experimental tests of intention-behaviour relations that satisfied these criteria. Meta-analysis showed that a medium-to-large change in intention (d = 0.66) leads to a small-to-medium change in behaviour (d = 0.36). The review also identified several conceptual factors, methodological features, and intervention characteristics that moderate intention-behaviour consistency. (Author/publisher)


20071412 ST [electronic version only]

Psychological Bulletin, Vol. 132 (2006), No. 2 (March), p. 249-268, 207 ref.

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