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The Effects of Attitude on Learning, Behavior and Mental Health

An attitude is a settled way of thinking or feeling about something or someone. Attitudes can be either positive or negative. Attitudes are made up of three components which include feelings and emotions, behavior and knowledge about objects or people (McLeod, 2018). Interestingly, people don’t always behave according to the attitudes they hold (McLeod, 2018). Attitudes are important for four reasons. First, through attitudes, individuals shape their meaning of life through knowledge acquisition. Secondly, if individuals hold socially acceptable attitudes, they are embraced in society. Thirdly, attitudes help people protect their self-esteem and protect their self-image. Finally, attitudes help people communicate and inform others about themselves (McLeod, 2018). Attitudes play a vital role in everyday life and thus have effects on human learning, behavior and mental health.

Attitudes play an active role in learning as both teachers and students hold attitudes. Students who hold negative attitudes towards education or a teacher, in particular, are less likely to learn and will respond with anger and rebellion (Guyana, n,d). Students that have positive attitudes towards education learn better. Attitudes determine a student’s desire towards learning as well (Guyana, n.d). Teachers who want to help their students should also shift their attitudes towards finding what drives their students to help them. It is important for teachers not to develop negative attitudes towards students who often get into trouble over anger issues or rebellion, because these are the first indicators of poor attitude against learning (Guyana, n.d). Every teacher’s attitude needs to be that of positively motivating students to embrace learning by shaping student attitudes when they are negative. Besides learning, attitudes may also have effects on human behavior.

Attitudes are often thought to shape human behavior. Sometimes, however, this is not the case. Research shows that most people do not always act as a result of their attitude (Sharma, n.d). An example is a person whose attitude towards gay people is positive but when in the company of people who are anti-gay will behave in a manner to offend the gay person. Scientists believe that more factors are at play when it comes to behavior and not just a person’s attitude towards something (Sharma, n.d). Attitudes seem to affect behavior only when the attitude is positive and the behavior is positive as well. Research by Dekker et al. indicates that the conversation on attitudes and behavior is not conclusive and more research needs to be done to determine if attitudes affect behavior. Nevertheless, their research had to reject the hypothesis that attitudes have no or small effect on behavior (Dekker et al, 2007).The Effects of Attitude on Learning, Behavior and Mental Health

Research on mental health and attitudes indicates  that negative attitudes towards people with mental illness might prevent people from seeking help (Abolfotouh et al., 2019). Research shows that the more negative the attitudes of poor mental health towards mentally ill people the more their stigmatization in society (Abolfotouh et al., 2019). Stigmatization means that more people are not getting the desired help because they also develop a negative attitude towards seeking help. Positive attitudes towards mental health include accepting it, looking out for its signs and symptoms and seeking appropriate help. Positive attitudes result in a mentally healthier community because they are embraced by society and that plays a huge role in preserving their self-image and feeling good about themselves.The Effects of Attitude on Learning, Behavior and Mental Health




Abolfotouh, M., Almutairi, A., Al Mutairi, Z., Salam, M., Alhashem, A., Adlan, A., & Modayfer, O. (2019). Attitudes toward mental illness, mentally ill persons, and help-seeking among the Saudi public and sociodemographic correlates. Psychology Research and Behavior ManagementVolume 12, 45-54.

Dekker, H., Dijkgraaf, B., & Meijerink, F. (2007). Behavior and attitude; effect of attitude on behavioral desire with respect to foreign countries and peoples and Germany and Germans, in particular, 195-215. Retrieved 6 March 2020, from.

Guyana, G. About student attitudes on learning. Ministry of Education Guyana. Retrieved 6 March 2020, from

Sharma, A. How attitude influences our behavior. Psychology Discussion. Retrieved 6 March 2020, from