Re: Constructs and attitudes

Rolf Deubner (
Thu, 27 Jun 1996 15:40:53 +0200

Dear Lindsay, dear Rainer!

For this time, I just wanted to tell you, that there is someone else
among personal construct psychologists thinking for quite a while
about health behavior on a PCP-basis and trying to build a
PCP-related model of it.

My special concern is smoking and I did sort of an explorative pilot-study.
I presented my concept at EPCA-conference in Reading, April this
I have collected all of my data already, but there are no results
yet. So to say, I am still working on it.

I am also working at a possible integration of TRA and PCP and would
like to share my thoughts with you later.

Just one short note on Lindsays second question and Rainers answer:

Lindsay wrote:
> > 2) How and why would you integrate TRA into a PCT framework?

Rainer wrote:
> I would not do it. I try to see the relation and what we can gain from
> it. In the case of attitudes and constructs, repgrid methods may
> fruitfully be used in the research on attitudes.

At first I felt a little bit discouraged by Rainers remark. But I
think, some kind of integration might be possible. When thinking
about relating PCP to health behavior, I also see the barrier between
PCP and the explanation of concrete behavior. But if you take health
as a value or maybe as the emergent pole of a superordinate
construct (this is what I am trying to do at the moment, because
health seems to me, personally as well as socially shared, an
important theme for everybody, even if this might only be obvious or
conscious in times of its absence) you could for example try to find
subordniate constructs of it via pyramiding. And this may be a way of
approaching concrete health behavior.

I also believe the corollaries to be quite useful for developping a
theory for this field. Especially the fragmentation corollary could
help explaining why "man the scientist" doesn't act always in a
logical or rational manner.

And I think here may be a good starting point to find an integration
of TRA and PCP. TRA tries to show why people often don't behave in a
way, that seems "healthy" and tries to explain these inconsisitencies
or contradictions using terms as "personal beliefs and belief
strength" on the one hand, "normative beliefs and motivation to
comply" on the other hand.

PCP could in my opinion leed us to a similar explanation of
"irrational health behavior", using the fundamental postulate and the
corollaries. (As I said, I am working on it!)

And it could in my opinion do even more, by looking for the
implications of showing or not showing a certain behavior. Maybe
there are important other constructs, keeping somebody from changing
a certain behavior.

I don't know if I can dare to say this already, but just having a
short look at some of my own data, smoking seems more related to
variables like stress or feeling well - or even self confidence, than
to health. I fear that these differences won't show up in
group-comparisons (I'll have a look), but for the individual I think,
lots of his or her health attitudes or behavior may be explained or
approached, using PCP theory and methods.

But I don't know at the moment if this is also appicable to

And I have to recognize, that this wasn't "just a short note" as I
have announced it.

Kindest regards
Dipl.-Psych. Rolf Deubner
Universitaet Giessen
Zentrum fuer Psychosomatische Medizin
Abteilung fuer Medizinische Psychologie
Friedrichstrasse 36
35392 Giessen

Tel. : 0641/702-2488
Fax : 0641/702-4610