The moderating impact of socially desirable responding on the relationship between attitudes and behaviour
Keijzer, M.J.R. de
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To date, there has been little research on the relationship between implicit and explicit attitudes and their relation with actual behaviour. The goal of this research was to examine the influence of the moderating variable socially desirable responding on the relationship between implicit and explicit measures of attitudes and condom use. We conducted a cross-sectional study among sexually active males in which men completed an implicit attitude measure, SC-IAT (Karpinski & Steinman, 2006); an explicit attitude measure (Marsh, Johnson & Scott-Sheldon, 2001) and a socially desirable responding scale (Rudmin, 1999). We predicted and found that socially desirable responding moderates the relation between implicit as well as explicit attitudes and condom behaviour. Our results suggest that explicit attitudes regarding condom use have less predictive value when socially desirable responding is high and implicit attitudes regarding condom use are a better predictor of condom use when socially desirable responding is high. This study also provides evidence that there are differences in implicit and explicit attitudes regarding condom use between steady and casual partners. We found that socially desirable responding may have a stronger effect on the predictive validity of explicit attitudes regarding condom use with casual partner compared to steady partners. Our findings not only confirm that motivational concerns, such as SDR, affect the correlation between implicit and explicit attitudes (Fazio & Olson, 2003), but also moderate their association with actual behaviour.