The dimensional salience solution to the expectancy-value muddle: An extension

Joshua Daniel Newton, Fiona Joy Newton, Michael Thomas Ewing

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


The theory of reasoned action (TRA) specifies a set of expectancy-value, belief-based frameworks that underpin attitude (behavioural beliefs x outcome evaluations) and subjective norm (normative beliefs x motivation to comply). Unfortunately, the most common method for analysing these frameworks generates statistically uninterpretable findings, resulting in what has been termed the expectancy-value muddle . Recently, however, a dimensional salience approach was found to resolve this muddle for the belief-based framework underpinning attitude. An online survey of 262 participants was therefore conducted to determine whether the dimensional salience approach could also be applied to the belief-based framework underpinning subjective norm. Results revealed that motivations to comply were greater for salient, as opposed to non-salient, social referents. The belief-based framework underpinning subjective norm was therefore represented by evaluating normative belief ratings for salient social referents. This modified framework was found to predict subjective norm, although predictions were greater when participants were forced to select five salient social referents rather than being free to select any number of social referents. These findings validate the use of the dimensional salience approach for examining the belief-based frameworks underpinning subjective norm. As such, this approach provides a complete solution to addressing the expectancy-value muddle in the TRA.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1458 - 1475
Number of pages18
JournalPsychology & Health
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - 2014

Cite this