When planning is needed: Implementation intentions and attainment of approach versus avoidance health goals

Cancer Prevention Fellowship Program, Office of Preventive Oncology, National Cancer Institute, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD 20892-7365, USA.
Health Psychology (Impact Factor: 3.95). 07/2008; 27(4):438-44. DOI: 10.1037/0278-6133.27.4.438
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT This study tested whether forming implementation intentions is an effective strategy for attaining health goals focused on trying to avoid a negative state.
Participants chose to either eat more healthy snacks (i.e., an approach goal) or eat fewer unhealthy snacks (i.e., an avoidance goal) over two weeks and were randomly assigned to create an implementation intention to do this or not.
The authors measured fat and calorie intake after one week and after two weeks.
After two weeks, the participants who ate most unhealthily were those who pursued an avoidance goal and did not form an implementation intention.
These results suggest that forming implementation intentions for avoidance goal pursuit can help people attain important health goals.

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