Attitudinal Ambivalence Toward Health Behaviours in a Cross-cultural Sample

  • D.B. Lindsay
  • A.L. Swinbourne


Background: Attitudinal ambivalence can arise when individuals endorse both positive and negative attitudes toward a target object. Ambivalent attitudes are relevant for health behaviours, as they may have both positive and negative evaluations. By assessing ambivalence toward health behaviours, the underlying structure of attitudes toward them can be realised. Furthermore, attitudinal ambivalence toward health behaviours was assessed across different cultures. Methods: All participants (257 Australians, 105 Singaporeans) completed ambivalence measures and self-report assessments for five health behaviours: drinking alcohol, exercising, increasing fruit and vegetable intake and smoking. Findings: Singaporeans and Australians had similar levels of ambivalence toward health-risk behaviour but not health protective behaviours. Singaporeans reported being significantly more ambivalent toward health protective behaviour than Australians. Discussion: As ambivalence toward health protective behaviour was found to be high in Singaporeans, interventions aiming to increase these behaviours may need to be more explicit in highlighting the positives of such behaviour.
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