Connecting Attitudes and Motivating Behavior: Vested Interest Theory

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

4 Scopus citations


A growing body of research demonstrates that Vested Interest Theory (VIT) is a valuable framework for understanding audience messaging needs and can serve as a foundation for designing effective campaign messages. This chapter begins with an overview of VIT and its components, discusses recent developments in the theory’s structure and application, and concludes with practical recommendations for applying VIT in communication campaigns and messaging interventions. The theory indicates that six variables (stake, salience, certainty, immediacy, self-efficacy, and response-efficacy) function to predict individuals’ relative vestedness in a particular attitude or attitude-object. Research provides a plausible explanation of when attitudes are predictive of behavior, independent of attitude strength. Researchers have also attempted to manipulate perceived vestedness using a campaign-style message designed to motivate citizen-level hazard preparedness. VIT promises to be a valuable approach to measuring relevant attitudes and using them to motivate consonant behavior.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationThe Handbook of Applied Communication Research
Subtitle of host publicationVolume 1: Volume 2
Number of pages16
ISBN (Electronic)9781119399926
ISBN (Print)9781119399858
StatePublished - Jan 1 2020
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Arts and Humanities
  • General Social Sciences


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