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Abstract

Two hundred and thirty-four persons were surveyed to assess personality aspects (action versus state orientation, need for cognition, faith in intuition) and emotional aspects of their attitudes towards the NATO military intervention in the Kosovo war in the spring of 1999. Additionally, in an imagined scenario they were asked to decide whether they would sign a petition addressed to the German government protesting against military intervention. Three ways of dealing with this decision were differentiated: (1) decisive action, (2) avoiding the decision conflict, and (3) elaborating the decision problem with the goal of building up feelings to guide action (amplification). Correlations between the variables were evaluated using path analysis in order to predict the decision strategy from personality dimensions and attitude variables (ambivalence, involvement). High action orientation caused low attitude ambivalence and high personal involvement in the topic. Strong ambivalence prevented swift action and supported a tendency towards elaboration and amplification of feelings. Involvement had a favorable effect on action readiness and a negative effect on conflict-avoiding strategies. Moreover, it moderated the effects of ambivalence on the preference for conflict management strategies. The results confirm theoretical approaches that stress the importance of affect for acting and deciding. Copyright © 2001 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.