Title

Obligation as mediator in the relationship between moral conviction and activism.

Date of Award

5-1-2014

Document Type

Thesis

School

College of Liberal Arts

Degree Name

Bachelor in Arts

Abstract

When people feel morally convicted about an issue (i.e., when they see an issue as related to fundamental right and wrong, good and bad) they are more likely to engage in activism relevant to that issue. Researchers have found that obligation--the belief that one should or must take action--plays an important mediating role in this relationship. The goal of the current research was to further examine the nature and the role of obligation in the relationship between moral conviction and activism. This study was conducted with over 300 participants using an online survey. Participants were presented with a list of issues and were asked to choose their most important issue and least important issue. Participants completed the remainder of the survey for either their most important issue, their least important issue, or a randomly assigned issue. The survey assessed participants issue-specific moral conviction, attitude strength, obligation to the self, obligation to others, and activism intentions. Results indicated that moral conviction predicted low and high cost activism intentions, as well as obligation to the self and obligation to others. Obligation to the self and obligation to others also each predicted low and high cost activism intentions and obligation to others also predicted behavioral activism. Mediation analyses indicated that obligation to others mediated the relationship between moral conviction and low cost activism intentions as well as high cost activism intentions, and obligation to the self mediated the relationship between moral conviction and high cost activism intentions. Implications of these findings are discussed.