The war and military obligation: Private attitudes and public actions1


  • 1

    This study was supported in part by an NSF Summer Fellowship to Mr Cowdry and research grants from the Departments of Psychology and Psychiatry, Yale University


The relationship between attitudes toward the Vietnam war and willingness to sign a strongly worded and publicized antiwar resolution was studied in a random sample of 131 male college seniors at a selective liberal arts college. Level of opposition to the war did not fully explain why many strongly antiwar subjects did not sign the resolution. With level of opposition to the war held constant, personality measures and other attitudes differentiated between signers and nonsigners It is hypothesized that the disposition to act publicly in support of private attitudes is a separate variable, which may be independent of the content and intensity of attitudes Studies of “activism” should distinguish more sharply between private attitudes and public actions.