When planning is needed: Implementation intentions and attainment of approach versus avoidance health goals
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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ABSTRACT: This research presents a new scale, the health regulatory focus scale, which measures an individual's tendency to use promotion or prevention strategies in the pursuit of health goals. We conducted five studies in France to develop the scale which is made up of two subscales for prevention and promotion. We also tested the scale's psychometric properties and demonstrated its two-factor dimensionality, internal and test–retest reliability, and convergent, nomological, predictive and discriminant validity. The health subscales showed good predictive validity in that they correlated with health behaviors better than the general regulatory focus subscales. For instance, health promotion focus predicted dentist visits while general promotion focus did not, and health prevention focus predicted the use of prescription and over-the-counter drugs while general prevention focus did not. Also as expected, general prevention focus predicted avoidance of risky vacation behaviors while health prevention focus did not. The health subscales either did not correlate or correlated weakly with positive and negative affectivity and general risk aversion indicating good discriminant validity. The one-year test–retest reliabilities were adequate for both subscales.Journal of Consumer Psychology 10/2013; 23(4):451–463. DOI:10.1016/j.jcps.2013.02.001 · 1.71 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: This study assessed the role of behavior enjoyableness in development of long‐term behavior. First, as expected from the literature on attitude and behavior change (Ajzen, 1991; Ryan & Deci, 2000), initial enjoyableness of a behavior predicted how successful participants were in performing the behavior in the short term (i.e., the time until they first violated their behavioral intentions). Of primary interest, repeated successful performance was, in turn, associated with an increase in reported enjoyableness of the behavior in the longer term. The study demonstrates the importance of a reciprocal relationship of behavior enjoyableness and performance for behavior change, such that even initially non‐enjoyable behaviors can become more enjoyable with repeated performance. These findings are particularly relevant for long‐term, goal‐related behaviors.Journal of Applied Social Psychology 04/2012; 42(4):990. DOI:10.1111/j.1559-1816.2011.00849.x · 0.63 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: The present studies tested the effectiveness of implementation intentions with an "if [situation], then not [habitual response]" structure. Based on ironic process theory and the literature on the processing of negations, it was expected that these "negation implementation intentions" would, ironically, strengthen the habit (situation-response association) one aims to break. In line with the hypotheses, forming negation implementation intentions resulted in cognitive ironic rebound effects as well as behavioral ironic rebound effects compared to an intention only condition or a replacement implementation intention. Additionally, it was found that negation implementation intentions are most likely to result in ironic rebound effects when the habit to be negated is strong. Although implementation intentions are generally highly effective in facilitating behavior change even when this involves breaking unwanted habits, the present research suggests that they are ineffective when they have a negating structure.Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin 01/2011; 37(1):69-81. DOI:10.1177/0146167210390523 · 2.52 Impact Factor