Fitting Identity in the Reasoned Action Framework: A Meta-analysis and Model Comparison
Several competing models have been put forth regarding the role of identity in the reasoned action framework. The standard model proposes that identity is a background variable. Under a typical augmented model, identity is treated as an additional direct predictor of intention and behavior. Alternatively, it has been proposed that identity measures are inadvertent indicators of an underlying intention factor (e.g., a manifest-intention model. In order to test these competing hypotheses, we used data from 73 independent studies (total N = 23,917) to conduct a series of meta-analytic structural equation models. We also tested for moderation effects based on whether there was a match between identity constructs and the target behaviors examined (e.g., if the study examined a "smoker identity" and "smoking behavior," there would be a match; if the study examined a "health conscious identity" and "smoking behavior," there would not be a match). Average effects among primary reasoned action variables were all substantial, rs = .37-.69. Results gave evidence for the manifest-intention model over the other explanations, and a moderation effect by identity-behavior matching.