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The Meat Ambivalence Questionnaire: Assessing Domain-Specific Meat-Related Conflict in Omnivores and Veg*ans

  • People are increasingly concerned about how meat affects the environment, human health, and animal welfare, yet eating and enjoying meat remains a norm. Unsurprisingly, many people are ambivalent about meat—evaluating it as both positive and negative. Here, we propose that meat-related conflict is multidimensional and depends on people’s dietary group: Omnivores’ felt ambivalence relates to multiple negative associations that oppose a predominantly positive attitude towards meat, and veg*ans’ ambivalence relates to various positive associations that oppose a predominantly negative attitude. A qualitative study (N = 235; German) revealed that omnivores and veg*ans experience meat-related ambivalence due to associations with animals, sociability, sustainability, health, and sensory experiences. To quantify felt ambivalence in these domains, we developed the Meat Ambivalence Questionnaire (MAQ). We validated the MAQ in four pre-registered studies using self-report and behavioral data (N = 3,485; German, UK, representative US). Both omnivores and veg*ans reported meat-related ambivalence, but with differences across domains and their consequences for meat consumption. Specifically, ambivalence was associated with less meat consumption in omnivores (especially sensory-/animal-based ambivalence) and more meat consumption in veg*ans (especially sensory-/socially-based ambivalence). Network analyses shed further light on the nomological net of the MAQ while controlling for a comprehensive set of determinants of meat consumption. By introducing the MAQ, we hope to provide researchers with a tool to better understand how ambivalence accompanies behavior change and maintenance.

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Author:Benjamin ButtlarORCiD, Shiva PaueORCiD, Matthew RubyORCiD, Monique ChambonORCiD, Ann-Kathrin Jimenez-Klingberg, Jasmin Scherf, Vsevolod Scherrer
Parent Title (English):Collabra: Psychology
Publisher:University of California Press
Place of publication:Oakland
Document Type:Article
Date of completion:2023/03/27
Date of publication:2023/03/27
Publishing institution:Universität Trier
Contributing corporation:The publication was funded by the Open Access Fund of Universität Trier and the German Research Foundation (DFG)
Release Date:2023/12/08
Tag:Ambivalence; Dissonance; Meat Consumption; Meat Paradox; Vegetarianism
Volume (for the year ...):2023
Issue / no.:Band 9, Heft 1
Number of pages:36
Institutes:Fachbereich 1 / Psychologie
Dewey Decimal Classification:1 Philosophie und Psychologie / 15 Psychologie / 150 Psychologie
Licence (German):License LogoCC BY: Creative-Commons-Lizenz 4.0 International

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