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Social norms: a review

[journal article]

Chung, Adrienne; Rimal, Rajiv N.

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Abstract Social norms, as a topic of inquiry, has garnered significant attention from a variety of perspectives in recent years. Because of the rapidly-growing interest in social norms from scholars in multiple disciplines, this area of scholarship is often characterized by a lack of clarity on what constitutes social norms and how key concepts are operationalized. The objectives of this article are to (a) provide a review of the fast-expanding literature on social norms, (b) delineate similarities and differences in key operational definitions, (c) review theories that explicate how norms affect behaviors, (d) propose a revised theoretical framework that helps organize our understanding of normative inf luence on behavior, and (e) provide suggestions for future research in this area. This review highlights the need to consider whether a behavior is enacted spontaneously or after deliberation. If the former, whichever attitude or norm is most salient will likely have a direct effect on behavior. If the latter, we propose that behavioral, individual, and contextual attributes will inf luence the extent to which norms shape behavioral intentions and subsequent behavior. Finally, this review highlights the need for more studies designed to test the causal relationship between social norms and behaviors, as well as those that study norms from a qualitative perspective.
Keywords social norm; behavior; social behavior; health behavior
Classification Social Psychology; General Sociology, Basic Research, General Concepts and History of Sociology, Sociological Theories
Document language English
Publication Year 2016
Page/Pages p. 1-28
Journal Review of Communication Research, 4 (2016)
ISSN 2255-4165
Status Published Version; peer reviewed
Licence Creative Commons - Attribution-NonCommercial