Title

Symbolic Politics and the Prediction of Attitudes Toward Federal Regulation of Reduced-Exposure Tobacco Products

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

2-2011

Department

Psychology

Abstract

The present study relies on symbolic politics theory to predict public attitudes toward the federal regulation of conventional tobacco products (a familiar attitude object) and reduced-exposure tobacco products (a relatively novel attitude object). We predicted that attitudes toward most forms of regulation would be more strongly influenced by symbolic beliefs about the role of government in society than by self-interested concerns, with the exception of taxation. We predicted that the financial consequences of taxation policies would be less ambiguous for those who are affected, resulting in a stronger relationship between self-interest and policy attitudes. The results strongly supported our hypotheses, suggesting a process by which symbolic beliefs and self-interested concerns influence attitude formation. Theoretical and policy implications are discussed.

Publication Title

Journal of Applied Social Psychology

DOI

10.1111/j.1559-1816.2010.00718.x