Risks of meat: the relative impact of cognitive, affective and moral concerns

Mariëtte Berndsen, Joop van der Pligt
Appetite 2005, 44 (2): 195-205
The purpose of the present research was, first, to examine the impact of particular perspectives (Study 1: cognitive and affective; Study 2: moral) on the perception and acceptance of risks associated with meat consumption, and intention to reduce meat consumption in the future. The first study showed that an affective focus generally had a stronger impact on risk perception and acceptance, and intention to reduce meat consumption, than a more cognitive focus. Moreover, moral considerations had a clear impact in all conditions. Results of a second study confirmed that a moral focus has powerful effects on all the dependent variables. The second purpose of the research was to examine the perseverance of the impact of cognitive, affective and moral perspectives. In both studies, a follow-up after three weeks showed increased perception of moral risks and a strong intention to reduce future meat consumption. Moreover, attitude towards meat consumption became less positive in the conditions with an affective and moral focus. There were also significant relations between intention to reduce meat consumption, actual reduction, and intention to adhere to this level in the future. Overall, risk acceptance was mediated by perceived health and moral risks, whereas intention about meat consumption was mediated by risk acceptance.

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