Keer, M., Van den Putte, B., & Neijens, P. (2010). The role of affect and cognition in health decision making. British Journal of Social Psychology, 49(1), 143-153. DOI:10.1348/014466609X425337

Abstract: Both affective and cognitive evaluations of behaviours have been allocated various positions in theoretical models of decision making. Most often, they have been studied as direct determinants of either intention or overall evaluation, but these two possible positions have never been compared. The aim of this study was to determine whether affective and cognitive evaluations influence intention directly, or whether their influence is mediated by overall evaluation. A sample of 300 university students filled in questionnaires on their affective, cognitive, and overall evaluations in respect of 20 health behaviours. The data were interpreted using mediation analyses with the application of path modelling. Both affective and cognitive evaluations were found to have significantly predicted intention. The influence of affective evaluation was largely direct for each of the behaviours studied, whereas that of cognitive evaluation was partially direct and partially mediated by overall evaluation. These results indicate that decisions regarding the content of persuasive communication (affective vs. cognitive) are highly dependent on the theoretical model chosen. It is suggested that affective evaluation should be included as a direct determinant of intention in theories of decision making when predicting health behaviours.
Keywords: affect, cognition, attitude, decision making, health behaviour, mediation