Attitude Change Theory, Research, and Clinical Practice

  • John H. Harvey
  • Gifford Weary
  • James E. Maddux
  • John S. Jordan
  • Kathryn S. Galvin


In this chapter we shall focus on the relevance to clinical practice of social psychological theories of attitude formation and change. We shall argue that attitude change processes are important in all major approaches to psychotherapy and that three decades of social psychological research attention to attitude development and change provide an empirical foundation for the investigation of persuasion as a clinical treatment strategy. The general position that clinical practice should be informed by the substantial literature on attitudes and attitude change is not original (e.g., see S. S. Brehm, 1976; Goldstein & Simonson, 1971, Goldstein, Heller, & Sechrest, 1966; Strong, 1978). However, it is our objective to provide a new look at the literature to which researchers and practitioners should be especially attentive in considering the nature and importance of persuasion in psychotherapy. We shall begin by examining the idea that attitude change processes are fundamental to all psychotherapies and shall then outline several attitude change conceptions that should have relevance to clinical practice. Finally, we shall present examples of recent research that examined the role of attitude change in clinical and counseling contexts.


Attitude Change Cognitive Dissonance Cognitive Response Dysfunctional Attitude Psychotherapy Research 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1985

Authors and Affiliations

  • John H. Harvey
    • 1
  • Gifford Weary
    • 2
  • James E. Maddux
    • 1
  • John S. Jordan
    • 3
  • Kathryn S. Galvin
    • 4
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyTexas Tech UniversityLubbockUSA
  2. 2.Department of PsychologyOhio State UniversityColumbusUSA
  3. 3.Duke Medical SchoolDuke UniversityDurhamUSA
  4. 4.Counseling CenterTexas A & M UniversityCollege StationUSA

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