Fast Focus: Will you change your behavior because of the Boston bombings? Attitudes change before behaviors

April 28, 2013 

Changing behavior because of news media reports may be very difficult for readers.

If we believe attitudes must be changed prior to behavioral changes occurring, most (if any) respondents will not have a behavioral change within a week or 10 days of an event such as the deaths that occurred in Boston. Attitude becomes a fixed way of thinking; behavior is an action taken by an individual with a subjective occurrence. Dramatic tragedy which occurred in Boston may be considered a dramatic occurrence as reported by the media. Hence, a behavior change may occur within a few individuals.

Most behavioral professionals will argue that attitudes are formed during the infant and early childhood years. Acceptable childhood attitudes most often creates behavior acceptable to others. This is the importance of parenting.

The education process (twelve years) may allow for changes in attitudes not acceptable in the individual's home. It is not likely to create long-term behavioral changes through reporting national dramatic occurrences.

-- EDWARD A. KENEALY, Richland

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