Article

Less is more: The effect of multiple implementation intentions targeting unhealthy snacking habits

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Abstract

Implementation intentions have been shown to effectively change counter-intentional habits. Research has, however, almost solely been concerned with the effectiveness of a single plan. In the present research, we investigated the behavioral and cognitive implications of making multiple implementation intentions targeting unhealthy snacking habits and its underlying processes, linking multiple habitual snacking cues to healthy alternatives. Study 1 revealed that formulatingmultiple implementation intentions was not effective in decreasing unhealthy snacking, whereas formulating a single plan successfully induced behavior change. By using a lexical decision task in Study 2, it was found that when making a single plan, but not multiple plans, the healthy alternative became cognitively more accessible in response to a critical cue prime than the habitual response. However, when making additional plans in an unrelated domain, the negative effects of making multiple plans were absent. In sum, the current findings suggest that formulating multiple implementation intentions is ineffective when changing unwanted behavior. These reduced effects of multiple implementation intentions do not occur when making the plan but are rather due to interference in the enacting phase of the planning process.

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... It is therefore important for substitution implementation intentions to specify a context or cue in which they will enact the behaviour. There is currently uncertainty in the literature regarding the number of implementation intentions or plans that are required for successful behaviour change [42,43]. Some research in the physical activity domain has shown that making two implementation intentions is more effective than making a single or three plans [42]. ...
... Some research in the physical activity domain has shown that making two implementation intentions is more effective than making a single or three plans [42]. In contrast, Verhoeven [43] found that making a single implementation intention was more effective for creating healthier snacking habits. It is still unclear how many implementation intentions are optimal for behaviour change and therefore it should be up to the individual how many plans they would like to make to have the best opportunity to achieve their goal. ...
... Finally, sub-analysis of implementation intentions showed that those who formed one implementation intention had greater decreases in portions consumed compared with those who formed two or three. This is in line with previous research that suggests having one plan is more effective than having multiple plans [43]. ...
Article
Background Excess sugar consumption has been linked to numerous negative health outcomes, such as obesity and type II diabetes. Reducing sugar-sweetened beverage (SSB) consumption may reduce sugar intake and thus improve health. The aim of the study was to test the impact of the potentially different rewarding nature of water or diet drinks as replacements for SSB, using a habit and implementation intention–based intervention.Method An online randomised, two-arm parallel design was used. One hundred and fifty-eight participants (mainly from the UK and USA) who regularly consumed SSBs (Mage = 31.5, 51% female) were advised to create implementation intentions to substitute their SSB with either water or a diet drink. Measures of SSB consumption, habit strength and hedonic liking were taken at baseline and at 2 months. Water or diet drink consumption was only measured at 2 months.ResultsThere was a large and significant reduction in SSB consumption and self-reported SSB habits for both the water and diet drink groups, but no difference between groups. There were no differences in hedonic liking for the alternative drink, alternative drink consumption and alternative drink habit between the two groups. Reduction in SSB hedonic liking was associated with reduced SSB consumption and habit.Conclusion This study demonstrates that an implementation intention–based intervention achieved substantial reductions in SSB consumption and habits. It also indicates that hedonic liking for SSBs and alternative drinks are associated with changes in consumption behaviour. Substituting SSBs with water or diet drinks was equally as effective in reducing SSB consumption.
... Taken together, these findings indicate that addictive behaviors may be difficult to change owing to their complexity and multiple internal or situational cues for the behavior. As such, single plans may be insufficient because they cannot cover an array of relevant or unidentified cues that can affect motivation and volition [41]. However, having multiple action or coping plans may not effectively address behavior, because the advanced development of action plans for all possible internal or situational cues is not feasible. ...
... However, having multiple action or coping plans may not effectively address behavior, because the advanced development of action plans for all possible internal or situational cues is not feasible. Furthermore, the likelihood of multiple plans being effective is reduced because of the cognitive burden of retaining and activating the details of multiple plans [41,42]. Just-In-Time Adaptive Intervention (JITAI) approaches may be effective for delivering the range of plans needed to address varying internal or situational cues that render self-regulation challenges. ...
Article
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Background: People with gambling problems frequently report repeated unsuccessful attempts to change their behavior. Although many behavior change techniques are available to individuals to reduce gambling harm, they can be challenging to implement or maintain. The provision of implementation support tailored for immediate, real-time, individualized circumstances may improve attempts at behavior change. Objective: We aimed to develop and evaluate a Just-In-Time Adaptive Intervention (JITAI) for individuals who require support to adhere to their gambling limits. JITAI development is based on the principles of the Health Action Process Approach with delivery, in alignment with the principles of self-determination theory. The primary objective was to determine the effect of action- and coping planning compared with no intervention on the goal of subsequently adhering to gambling expenditure limits. Methods: Gambling Habit Hacker is delivered as a JITAI providing in-the-moment support for adhering to gambling expenditure limits (primary proximal outcome). Delivered via a smartphone app, this JITAI delivers tailored behavior change techniques related to goal setting, action planning, coping planning, and self-monitoring. The Gambling Habit Hacker app will be evaluated using a 28-day microrandomized trial. Up to 200 individuals seeking support for their own gambling from Australia and New Zealand will set a gambling expenditure limit (ie, goal). They will then be asked to complete 3 time-based ecological momentary assessments (EMAs) per day over a 28-day period. EMAs will assess real-time adherence to gambling limits, strength of intention to adhere to goals, goal self-efficacy, urge self-efficacy, and being in high-risk situations. On the basis of the responses to each EMA, participants will be randomized to the control (a set of 25 self-enactable strategies containing names only and no implementation information) or intervention (self-enactable strategy implementation information with facilitated action- and coping planning) conditions. This microrandomized trial will be supplemented with a 6-month within-group follow-up that explores the long-term impact of the app on gambling expenditure (primary distal outcome) and a range of secondary outcomes, as well as an evaluation of the acceptability of the JITAI via postintervention surveys, app use and engagement indices, and semistructured interviews. This trial has been approved by the Deakin University Human Research Ethics Committee (2020-304). Results: The intervention has been subject to expert user testing, with high acceptability scores. The results will inform a more nuanced version of the Gambling Habit Hacker app for wider use. Conclusions: Gambling Habit Hacker is part of a suite of interventions for addictive behaviors that deliver implementation support grounded in lived experience. This study may inform the usefulness of delivering implementation intentions in real time and in real-world settings. It potentially offers people with gambling problems new support to set their gambling intentions and adhere to their limits. Trial registration: Australian New Zealand Clinical Trials Registry ACTRN12622000497707; www.anzctr.org.au/Trial/Registration/TrialReview.aspx?id=383568. International registered report identifier (irrid): DERR1-10.2196/38919.
... Taken together, these findings indicate that addictive behaviours may be difficult to change due to their complexity and multiple internal or situational cues for the behaviour. As such, single plans may be insufficient because they cannot cover the array of relevant or unidentified cues that can impact motivation and volition [41]. Having multiple action or coping plans, however, may not effectively address behaviour because the advanced development of action plans for all possible internal or situational cues is not feasible. ...
... Having multiple action or coping plans, however, may not effectively address behaviour because the advanced development of action plans for all possible internal or situational cues is not feasible. Furthermore, the likelihood of multiple plans being effective is reduced due to the cognitive burden of retaining and activating the details of multiple plans [41,42]. Just-In-Time Adaptive Intervention (JITAI) approaches may be effective methods of delivering the range of plans needed to address varying internal or situational cues that render selfregulation challenges. ...
Preprint
BACKGROUND People with gambling problems frequently report repeated unsuccessful attempts to change behaviour. Even though a range of behaviour change techniques are available to individuals to reduce gambling harm, they can be challenging to implement or maintain in the moment. The provision of implementation support, tailored for immediate, real-time individualised circumstances, may improve attempts at behaviour change. OBJECTIVE The aim of the current study is to develop and evaluate a Just-In-Time Adaptive Intervention (JITAI) for individuals who want support sticking to their gambling limits. The JITAI development is based on the principles of the Health Action Process Approach with delivery in alignment with the principles of Self-Determination Theory. The primary objective is to determine the effect of action and coping planning compared to no intervention on the goal of subsequently adhering to gambling expenditure limits. METHODS Gambling Habit Hacker is delivered as a JITAI providing in-the-moment support for adhering to gambling expenditure limits (primary proximal outcome). Delivered via smartphone app, this JITAI delivers tailored Behaviour Change Techniques relating to goal setting, action planning, coping planning and self-monitoring. The Gambling Habit Hacker app will be evaluated with a 28-day micro-randomised trial (MRT). Up to 200 individuals seeking support for their own gambling from Australia and New Zealand will set a gambling expenditure limit (i.e., goal). They will then be asked to complete three Ecological Momentary Assessments (EMAs) per day over a 28-day period. EMAs will assess real-time adherence to gambling limits, strength of intention to adhere to goals, goal self-efficacy, urge self-efficacy and being in a high-risk situation. Based on responses to each EMA, participants will be randomised to the control (a set of 25 self-enactable strategies containing names only and no implementation information) or intervention (self-enactable strategy implementation information with facilitated action and coping planning) conditions. This MRT will be supplemented with: (i) a 6-month within-group follow-up which explores the longer-term impact of the app on gambling expenditure (primary distal outcome) and a range of secondary outcomes (gambling frequency, gambling symptom severity, psychological distress, well-being, situational confidence and planning propensity); (ii) an evaluation of acceptability of the JITAI via post-intervention surveys, app usage and engagement indices, and in-depth interviews. RESULTS The intervention has been subject to expert user testing, with high acceptability scores. The results will inform a more nuanced version of the Gambling Habit Hacker app for wider use. CONCLUSIONS Gambling Habit Hacker is part of a suite of interventions for addictive behaviours that deliver implementation support grounded in lived experience. This study may inform the usefulness of delivering implementation intentions in real-time and in real-world settings. It potentially offers people with gambling problems new support to set gambling intentions and stick to their limits. CLINICALTRIAL This trial has been registered with the Australian New Zealand Clinical Trials Registry (ACTRN12622000497707) and has been approved by the Deakin University Human Research Ethics Committee (2020-304).
... An alternative form of commitment device relies on reputational rather than monetary stakes, and these too have been shown to promote weight loss: Nyer and Dellande (2010) report improved weight loss when goals are posted to a public gym noticeboard; Prestwich et al (2012) report greater weight loss when exercise is planned with a partner rather than as a solo activity. However, other studies have shown more mixed results from planning and commitment strategies (Chapman, Campbell, & Wilson, 2015;Verhoeven, Adriaanse, Ridder, Vet, & Fennis, 2013). ...
... This concept is not found in the commitment devices literature, but the wider literature offers some support. Verhoeven et al (2013) suggest the potential negative effects from an overload of planning in a study where multiple plans to curb unhealthy snacking were less effective than a single plan with the same objective. In a follow up study, the authors suggest that neither initial motivation nor the act of making multiple plans explained the lack of effect on health behaviour change, but the process of trying to implement multiple action plans became problematic. ...
Chapter
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This chapter examines how and why commitment devices have been used for weight management and frames research priorities going forward. A theoretical framework drawing on Thaler and Shefrin motivates the use of commitment devices to change health behaviours. An original taxonomy separates commitment devices into three distinct types. A review of the empirical literature, with a focus on unexpected findings that defy theoretical predictions, indicates that commitment devices (1) can have positive effects on health behaviours, but (2) can also have unintended effects, which warrants further research attention to under-theorised issues of ‘commitment overload' and ‘moral licensing', and empirical testing of online commitment strategies. The COVID-19 pandemic emphasises the need for innovative but evidence-based digital health interventions. The chapter closes with suggestions for policymakers considering commitment devices for preventative health behaviours.
... In comparison to when only a goal intention is formed (e.g. "I want to eat fewer snacks" or "I want to eat more apples"), the implementation intention makes an alternative action more accessible in the specified situation, thereby facilitating its execution over the typical action as stored in a representation (Verhoeven, Adriaanse, de Ridder, de Vet, & Fennis, 2013). In other words, rather than inhibiting an existing automatic process, the tool works around the automatic action by executing a desired and pre-specified alternative action. ...
... Implementation intentions thus provide no benefit for situations or products that were not part of the implementation intention. A further caveat is that forming multiple implementation intentions is less effective for reduce unhealthy snacking than forming a single implementation intention (Verhoeven et al., 2013). ...
... While some studies have reported significant benefits of forming implementation intentions on reducing unhealthy food intake (Bukowska-Durawa et al. 2010;van Koningsbruggen et al. 2011;Karimi-Shahanjarini et al. 2013), some have reported more complex findings. For example, Verhoeven et al. (2013) found that forming one implementation intention was more effective than forming several implementation intentions. Tam et al. (2010) found an interaction between implementation intention formation, regulatory fit, and habit strength. ...
... For physical activity, too, more plans seem to be associated with more success (Wiedemann et al. 2011). In contrast, Verhoeven et al. (2013) found that forming a single plan (in this case, to reduce unhealthy snacking) was more effective than forming multiple plans. The authors' explanation of this finding was that forming multiple plans could lead to interference at the moment of acting, especially if the plans are formed with respect to the same opportunity. ...
... While some studies have reported significant benefits of forming implementation intentions on reducing unhealthy food intake ( BukowskaDurawa et al. 2010;van Koningsbruggen et al. 2011;Karimi-Shahanjarini et al. 2013), some have reported more complex findings. For example, Verhoeven et al. (2013) found that forming one implementation intention was more effective than forming several implementation intentions. Cancer screening ...
... For physical activity, too, more plans seem to be associated with more success ( Wiedemann et al. 2011). In contrast, Verhoeven et al. (2013) found that forming a single plan (in this case, to reduce unhealthy snacking) was more effective than forming multiple plans. The authors' explanation of this finding was that forming multiple plans could lead to interference at the moment of acting, especially if the plans are formed with respect to the same opportunity. ...
... Formulating implementation intentions targeting existing habitual behaviours in general is therefore rather difficult. Aiming to change unhealthy snacking habits is however particularly complex: while most habitual behaviours are directly triggered by an apparent specific situational cue, counteracting unhealthy snacking behaviour is complex because snacking habits are induced automatically in response to a variety of different cues (Adriaanse et al., 2009;De Graaf, 2006;Verhoeven, Adriaanse, De Ridder, De Vet, & Fennis, 2013). Not only straightforward situational cues (where/when) could induce unhealthy snacking, such as a specific time of the day, also more subjective internal cues can trigger this behaviour, such as feeling bored or experiencing social pressure. ...
... In line with previous studies (e.g. Adriaanse et al., 2009;Verhoeven et al., 2013) participants who were underweight (N = 13, which could indicate a possible eating disorder, BMI < 18.5; WHO, 2003b) were excluded from the analyses 1 as well as one person who was an outlier on mean calories per day (>3 SD above the mean). This resulted in a total sample of 161 participants (62% women) with an average age of 20.86 years (SD = 2.93, range: 17-33) and an average BMI of 22.20 (SD = 2.64, range: 18.52-37.25). ...
Article
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Abstract Implementation intentions aimed at changing unwanted habits require the identification of personally relevant cues triggering the habitual response in order to be effective. To facilitate successful implementation intention formation, in the present study, planning was combined with cue-monitoring, a novel way to gain insight into triggers for unhealthy snacking. It was tested whether keeping a cue-monitoring diary and tailoring implementation intentions accordingly improves plan effectiveness. A 2 Monitoring (cue-monitoring, control) x 2 Planning (implementation intention, goal intention) between subjects design was adopted. Participants (N=161) monitored their unhealthy snacking behaviour for a week using either a cue-monitoring or a control diary. Participants then formulated a goal intention or an implementation intention tailored to their personal cue. Snacking frequency and caloric intake from unhealthy snacks were examined using a seven-day snack diary. The results did not indicate an interaction but yielded a main effect of Monitoring. Cue-monitoring either or not combined with implementation intentions reduced unhealthy snacking behaviour compared to control. Findings emphasize the effectiveness of cue-monitoring, suggesting that on the short-term cue-monitoring suffices to decrease unhealthy snacking, without additional benefit from planning. Future research should examine whether supplementing cue-monitoring with implementation intentions is required to establish long term behaviour change maintenance.
... In einer niederländischen Studie (Verhoeven et al., 2013) ...
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Die Arbeit mit und an Zielen gehört zu den elementaren Methoden bei der Begleitung von Menschen in Veränderungsprozessen. Relativ sicher können wir feststellen, dass die Arbeit mit Zielen erfolgreicher sein wird als eine Arbeit, die sich an losen Absprachen oder unverbindlichen Schritten der Veränderung orientiert. Mit der vorliegenden Schrift will die Arbeitsgruppe (Süd‐West) der Fachgruppe Arbeitsmarktintegration der Deutschen Gesellschaft für Care und Case Management (DGCC) einen Beitrag zur Durchdringung des Themas leisten sowie entsprechende Bearbeitungshilfen für die Praxis zur Verfügung stellen. Entsprechend der Leitorientierung Theorie und Praxis in der vorliegenden Schrift miteinander zu verzahnen, werden in vier einleitenden Kapiteln Inhalte der Beratungs‐ und Zielarbeit im Feld der Beschäftigungsförderung aufgegriffen, geklärt und oft auch problematisiert. Abrundend haben die Mitglieder des Arbeitskreises in mehreren Sitzungen erprobte Methoden und Tools zusammengestellt, die die Zielarbeit und –formulierung in der Praxis unterstützen sollen. Dabei unterscheiden wir zwischen Methoden und Tools, die im Alltag von Jobcentern und Beschäftigungsträgern durch Fachkräfte eingesetzt und ihrer Handhabbarkeit zurückgemeldet wurden und denjenigen, die uns in der Arbeitsgruppe hilfreich und wirksam erschienen, nicht aber explizit erprobt wurden.
... Attesting to flexibility, implementation intentions turned out to facilitate the initiation of the planned response not only in the specified critical situation but also in sufficiently similar situations, with beneficial effects on goal attainment whenever this planned response was in fact required in these situations. This is an important observation because the exact features of a critical situation might often be difficult to anticipate, and research indicates that making a large number of plans, one for each anticipated potential critical situation, is not advisable (Verhoeven, Adriaanse, De Ridder, De Vet, & Fennis, 2013). Furthermore, the features of an anticipated critical situation might change over time and it seems desirable that implementation intentions nevertheless remain effective. ...
Preprint
Forming implementation intentions (i.e., if-then planning) is a powerful self-regulation strategy that enhances goal attainment by facilitating the automatic initiation of goal-directed responses upon encountering critical situations. Yet, little is known about the consequences of forming implementation intentions for goal attainment in situations that were not specified in the if-then plan. In three experiments, we assessed goal attainment in terms of speed and accuracy in an object classification task, focusing on situations that were similar or dissimilar to critical situations and required planned or different responses. The results of Experiments 1 and 3 provide evidence for a facilitation of planned responses in critical and in sufficiently similar situations, enhancing goal attainment when the planned response was required and impairing it otherwise. In Experiment 3, additional unfavorable effects however emerged in situations that were dissimilar to the critical one but required the planned response as well. We discuss theoretical implications as well as potential benefits and pitfalls emerging from these non-planned effects of forming implementation intentions.
... The latter finding suggests that exploring habits that run counter to the target behaviour can be inhibited in favour of intentions to perform the target behaviour. This may be dependent on available resources to overcome the opposing behaviour habit, such as knowledge and ability to use self-regulation skills to overcome the habit, which may maximize the strength of individuals' intentions to perform the target behaviour [42,43]. However, inconsistent findings highlight the need for further research examining the circumstances in which habits to perform the target behaviour, and habits that run counter to the target behaviour, determine nutrition-related behaviours. ...
Article
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We tested a dual process model incorporating constructs that reflect both performing the target behaviour (behaviour directed habit) and habits that run counter to the target behaviour (opposing behaviour habit) in accounting for variance in two health behaviours: eating the recommended serves of fruits and vegetables a day and restricting sugar-sweetened beverage consumption. A prospective correlational design with two waves of data collection separated by one week was adopted. Participants (N = 606) comprising middle school students (n = 266) and university students (n = 340) completed an initial survey comprising self-report measures of past behaviour, intention, and habit to perform the target behaviour and habits that run counter to the target behaviour. One week later, participants (N = 414) completed a self-reported measure of behaviour. Results revealed that behaviour directed habits predicted fruit and vegetable consumption in both samples, while opposing behaviour habits predicted restriction of sugar-sweetened beverages in the middle-school sample only, with a moderating effect also observed. Current findings indicate that habits specifying avoidance of the target behaviour did not predict future behaviour. However, the moderating effect observed provides preliminary evidence that strong habits to perform a behaviour may override habit to avoid the behaviour.
... Furthermore, plan effects in future studies might be enhanced by asking subjects to make one plan pertaining to the most critical obstacle (or opportunity) and the best goaldirected strategy. Rather than helping subjects prepare for different stressors in the cycling tasks, there might have been interference between the different if-then plans [89]. Indeed, the majority of subjects in the implementation intention condition used more than one plan to prepare for the tests, which might have thwarted the beneficial effects of if-then planning. ...
Article
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Endurance sports pose a plethora of mental demands that exercisers have to deal with. Unfortunately, investigations of exercise-specific demands and strategies to deal with them are insufficiently researched, leading to a gap in knowledge about athletic requirements and strategies used to deal with them. Here, we investigated which obstacles exercisers experience during an anaerobic (Wingate test) and an aerobic cycling test (incremental exercise test), as well as the strategies they considered helpful for dealing with these obstacles (qualitative analysis). In addition, we examined whether thinking of these obstacles and strategies in terms of if-then plans (or implementation intentions; i.e., “If I encounter obstacle O, then I will apply strategy S!”) improves performance over merely setting performance goals (i.e., goal intentions; quantitative analysis). N = 59 participants (age: M = 23.9 ± 6.5 years) performed both tests twice in a 2-within (Experimental session: 1 vs. 2) × 2-between (Condition: goal vs. implementation intention) design. Exercisers’ obstacles and strategies were assessed using structured interviews in Session 1 and subjected to thematic analysis. In both tests, feelings of exertion were the most frequently stated obstacle. Motivation to do well, self-encouragement, and focus on the body and on cycling were frequently stated strategies in both tests. There were also test-specific obstacles, such as boredom reported in the aerobic test. For session 2, the obstacles and strategies elicited in Session 1 were used to specify if-then plans. Bayesian mixed-factor ANOVA suggests, however, that if-then plans did not help exercisers to improve their performance. These findings shed novel light into the mental processes accompanying endurance exercise and the limits they pose on performance.
... While increased snacking behavior can be viewed as concerning, it also poses an opportunity for intervention. Past research has shown single implementation interventions are effective at curbing snacking behavior [42]. Looking forward to future shelter-in-place situations, further investigation and public health guidance against excess snacking may provide an opportunity to improve diet and limit weight gain. ...
Article
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Ultra-processed food (UPF) consumption poses a potential risk to public health and may be related to shelter-in-place orders. This study utilized the level of food processing as a lens by which to examine the relationships between diet, weight change, and lifestyle changes (including cooking, snacking, and sedentary activity) that occurred during regional shelter-in-place orders. This study used a cross-sectional, retrospective survey (n = 589) to assess baseline demographics, changes in lifestyle behaviors using a Likert scale, and changes in dietary behaviors using a modified food frequency questionnaire from mid-March to May 2020; data were collected in the California Bay Area from August to October 2020. Foods were categorized by level of processing (minimally processed, processed, and ultra-processed) using the NOVA scale. Stepwise multiple linear regression and univariate linear regression models were used to determine the associations between these factors. Increased snacking was positively associated with a change in the percent of the calories derived from UPF and weight gain (β = 1.0, p < 0.001; β = 0.8 kg, p < 0.001) and negatively associated with the share of MPF calories consumed (β = −0.9, p < 0.001). These relationships have public health implications as interventions designed around decreased snacking may positively impact diet and weight management and thereby mitigate negative health outcomes.
... One might argue that there are easy solutions for dealing with such unintended effects, such as forming multiple implementation intentions. Unfortunately, planning for different situations (e.g., cues for unhealthy snacking; Verhoeven et al., 2013) and/or planning different behaviours (e.g., a "Plan B", Vinkers et al., 2015) might even reduce the effectiveness of implementation intentions. A more promising strategy therefore is to take advantage of what at first glance appears to be undesired effects of implementation intentions. ...
Article
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The self-regulation strategy of forming implementation intentions has now been studied for almost 30 years. We trace the development of this research and explicate the questions that have been addressed. We then present current research that investigates the consequences of implementation intentions for flexible goal striving, behaviour in situations for which one had not planned, and neuropsychological processes underlying the action control by implementation intentions. Next, we turn to novel applications focusing on how implementation intentions affect physical endurance and promote strategic information processing. Our review concludes with an outlook on future research on implementation intentions that covers emerging individual difference perspectives, innovative approaches to characterize underlying cognitive processes, and the prospects of integrating insights from related fields of research. As such, our review is an empathic call for addressing the many intriguing conceptual and empirical questions that still revolve around implementation intentions.
... Perceived extents of healthy and unhealthy snacking in the previous week were each assessed using a single-item 7-point Likert scale (from 1 = not at all healthy/ unhealthy, to 7 = very much healthy/unhealthy). Intention to reduce unhealthy snacking was assessed using 3 items [41,42], habit strength was assessed using a 12-item self-report habit strength index [43], and action control (strategies to self-regulate unhealthy snacking [44]) was assessed using a 6-item measure [44]. The items for these last 3 outcomes were assessed using a 7-point Likert scale (strongly disagree to strongly agree). ...
Article
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Background: Low health literacy is associated with poorer health outcomes. A key strategy to address health literacy is a universal precautions approach, which recommends using health-literate design for all health interventions, not just those targeting people with low health literacy. This approach has advantages: Health literacy assessment and tailoring are not required. However, action plans may be more effective when tailored by health literacy. This study evaluated the impact of health literacy and action plan type on unhealthy snacking for people who have high BMI or type 2 diabetes (Aim 1) and the most effective method of action plan allocation (Aim 2). Methods and findings: We performed a 2-stage randomised controlled trial in Australia between 14 February and 6 June 2019. In total, 1,769 participants (mean age: 49.8 years [SD = 11.7]; 56.1% female [n = 992]; mean BMI: 32.9 kg/m2 [SD = 8.7]; 29.6% self-reported type 2 diabetes [n = 523]) were randomised to 1 of 3 allocation methods (random, health literacy screening, or participant selection) and 1 of 2 action plans to reduce unhealthy snacking (standard versus literacy-sensitive). Regression analysis evaluated the impact of health literacy (Newest Vital Sign [NVS]), allocation method, and action plan on reduction in self-reported serves of unhealthy snacks (primary outcome) at 4-week follow-up. Secondary outcomes were perceived extent of unhealthy snacking, difficulty using the plans, habit strength, and action control. Analyses controlled for age, level of education, language spoken at home, diabetes status, baseline habit strength, and baseline self-reported serves of unhealthy snacks. Average NVS score was 3.6 out of 6 (SD = 2.0). Participants reported consuming 25.0 serves of snacks on average per week at baseline (SD = 28.0). Regarding Aim 1, 398 participants in the random allocation arm completed follow-up (67.7%). On average, people scoring 1 SD below the mean for health literacy consumed 10.0 fewer serves per week using the literacy-sensitive action plan compared to the standard action plan (95% CI: 0.05 to 19.5; p = 0.039), whereas those scoring 1 SD above the mean consumed 3.0 fewer serves using the standard action plan compared to the literacy-sensitive action plan (95% CI: -6.3 to 12.2; p = 0.529), although this difference did not reach statistical significance. In addition, we observed a non-significant action plan × health literacy (NVS) interaction (b = -3.25; 95% CI: -6.55 to 0.05; p = 0.054). Regarding Aim 2, 1,177 participants across the 3 allocation method arms completed follow-up (66.5%). There was no effect of allocation method on reduction of unhealthy snacking, including no effect of health literacy screening compared to participant selection (b = 1.79; 95% CI: -0.16 to 3.73; p = 0.067). Key limitations include low-moderate retention, use of a single-occasion self-reported primary outcome, and reporting of a number of extreme, yet plausible, snacking scores, which rendered interpretation more challenging. Adverse events were not assessed. Conclusions: In our study we observed nominal improvements in effectiveness of action plans tailored to health literacy; however, these improvements did not reach statistical significance, and the costs associated with such strategies compared with universal precautions need further investigation. This study highlights the importance of considering differential effects of health literacy on intervention effectiveness. Trial registration: Australia and New Zealand Clinical Trial Registry ACTRN12618001409268.
... One key aspect to achieving any goal is the consistency of working towards it, and several studies have shown how if-then plans mediate the continuity of goal pursuit. This was done in the context of dietary constraints (Verhoeven, Adriaanse, de Ridder, de Vet, & Fennis, 2013), and performance anxiety (Achtziger, Gollwitzer, & Sheeran, 2008), where heightened goal commitment. When players in competitive games are met with adversary or requiring focus, the use of implementation intentions could shield them from this setback and mediate a continuity of goal pursuit. ...
Thesis
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With use of the self-regulatory technique of implementation intentions (Gollwitzer, 1993), we investigated if the performance of action video game players would increase in two different action video games. Two maps were selected from the first-person shooters: Counter-Strike Global Offensive (Valve Corporation, 2012) a popular eSport title, and Aimtastic (Möller, 2018), an indie developed aim trainer. The intervention group used if-then plans to improve performance in both games by identifying situational factor to trigger a response. Participants were tested on each of the four maps three times before a pause (pre-intervention), where participants were divided into two groups (intervention: yes or no). Upon receiving the intervention participant were tested again in each map (post-intervention). It was expected that all scores of participants would increase significantly from pre-to post-intervention, irrelevant of group (hypothesis 1). We furthermore expected that the intervention group receiving the implementation intention would have a significantly higher increase than that from the control group (hypothesis 2). Hypothesis 1 was rejected after it was found that there was no significant difference between the scores of participants in the first round, and the scores in the second. Similarly, hypothesis 2 was rejected as there was no significant difference found between the intervention group and control group in how much they increased in performance.
... In contrast, another study found that counter-intentional habits to eat goal-directed actions. This may be dependent on available resources to overcome the counterintentional habit, such as knowledge and ability to use self-regulation skills to overcome the habit (Holland, Aarts, & Langendam, 2006;Verhoeven, Adriaanse, De Ridder, De Vet, & Fennis, 2013). However, inconsistent findings of the role of counter-intentional habits highlight the need for further research in this area to understand their effects, particularly the circumstances in which habits and counter-intentional habits determine nutrition-related behaviours. ...
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Objective: High sugar-sweetened beverage consumption and low fruit and vegetable intake are associated with a range of health issues. Both intentional and automatic processes have been found to play a significant role in health behaviour change; however, previous research has tended to focus on goal-directed habits, while other potentially important automatic factors (e.g., counter-intentional habit) have been largely ignored. The aim of the current study is to understand the role of both intentional and automatic processes (i.e., goal-directed and counter-intentional habits) in two health-promoting nutrition behaviours (i.e., eating the recommended serves of fruits and vegetables a day and restricting sugar-sweetened beverage consumption) across two age-cohorts (i.e., middle school students aged 11 – 14 years and university students aged 17 – 24 years). Methods: A prospective design with two waves of data collection spaced one week apart was adopted. Participants (Total N = 606) completed an initial survey comprising measures of past behaviour, intention, goal-directed habits, and counter-intentional habits. One week later, participants (n = 414) completed a self-reported measure of behaviour. Results: Structural equation modelling revealed that intentions significantly predicted both behaviours in both samples. Goal-directed habits predicted fruit and vegetable consumption in both samples, while counter-intentional habits only predicted the restriction of sugar-sweetened beverages in the middle-school sample. Conclusions: Current findings indicate that different types of automatic factors may play a role in explaining nutrition behaviours. Specifically, habits which were worded with an avoidance-orientation (i.e., the habit to not consume or avoid consuming) did not play a significant role in predicting future behaviour. Future research should explore the concept of avoidance-oriented habits including lay-beliefs and representations of them.
... This may indicate that habits can be inhibited in favour of goal-directed actions. Therefore, even if an individual has a strong habit to eat unhealthy snacks, their ability to use selfcontrol or use other behaviour-change techniques reduces the impact of the habit on behaviour (Holland, Aarts, & Langendam, 2006;Verhoeven, Adriaanse, De Ridder, De Vet, & Fennis, 2013). It could also mean that habits, or certain types of habits, do not have a significant role in some behaviours . ...
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Objective: High sugar-sweetened beverage consumption and low fruit and vegetable intake are associated with a range of health issues. Both intentional and automatic processes have been found to play a significant role in health behaviour change; however, previous research has tended to focus on goal-directed habits, while other potentially important automatic factors (e.g., counter-intentional habit) have been largely ignored. The aim of the current study is to understand the role of both intentional and automatic processes (i.e., goal-directed and counter-intentional habits) in two health-promoting nutrition behaviours (i.e., eating the recommended serves of fruits and vegetables a day and restricting sugar-sweetened beverage consumption) across two age-cohorts (i.e., middle school students aged 11-14 years and university students aged 17-24 years). Methods: A prospective design with two waves of data collection spaced one week apart was adopted. Participants (Total N = 606) completed an initial survey comprising measures of past behaviour, intention, goal-directed habits, and counter-intentional habits. One week later, participants (n = 414) completed a self-reported measure of behaviour. Results: Structural equation modelling revealed that intentions significantly predicted both behaviours in both samples. Goal-directed habits predicted fruit and vegetable consumption in both samples, while counter-intentional habits only predicted the restriction of sugar-sweetened beverages in the middle-school sample. Conclusions: Current findings indicate that different types of automatic factors may play a role in explaining nutrition behaviours. Specifically, habits which were worded with an avoidance-orientation (i.e., the habit to not consume or avoid consuming) did not play a significant role in predicting future behaviour. Future research should explore the concept of avoidance
... The addiction literature, for example has shown that multiple environmental cues can yield increased craving and engaging in a problem behavior for a particular individual (Fatseas et al., 2015). Implementation intention research has also assessed the use of multiple cue-behavior associations, but demonstrated that developing multiple "if [cue], then [behavior]" plans does not yield effective behavioral changes, compared to setting a single if-then plan (de Vet et al., 2011;Verhoeven et al., 2013). As implementation intentions as well are thought to yield behavior by increasing cognitive accessibility of cue and behavior (Webb and Sheeran, 2008), there is need to understand the conditions under which single or multiple cues yield inclinations toward behavior. ...
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Background Habits have been proposed to develop as a function of the extent to which a behavior is rewarded, performed frequently, and executed in a stable context. The present study examines how each of these factors are associated with behavioral automaticity across a broad variety of behaviors drawn from previous habits research. This study further assesses how perceived complexity of the behavior influences the associations of rewards, frequency, and contextual stability with automaticity.Methods Participants (N = 459) completed an online survey assessing their experiences and engagement with 25 different behaviors, including exercise, handwashing, smoking, and medication adherence, among others. Exploratory factor analysis validated a short, relatively novel scale of perceived behavioral complexity, and multilevel analyses grouped by participant were used to examine the factors that contribute to automaticity.ResultsAcross behaviors, frequency, contextual stability, and perceived rewards were positively associated with automaticity. Perceived complexity was negatively associated with automaticity and moderated the influence of contextual stability and rewards, but not frequency, on automaticity. Both contextual stability and rewards were stronger predictors of automaticity when behavioral complexity was high rather than low, as predicted; in addition, when contextual stability was high, more complex behaviors showed greater automaticity than simpler behaviors.Conclusion The results of this study confirm that behavioral frequency, rewards, and contextual stability are each independently associated with automaticity across a spectrum of behaviors. This study further demonstrates that perceived complexity of a behavior moderates the extent to which contextual stability and rewards are associated with automaticity. The results affirm a need to further understand the components of habits and how they differ across varying behaviors.
... The measure of intention consists of 3 items that ask about the participant's intention to reduce unhealthy snacking. 27 28 Habit strength will be assessed using the 12-item self-report habit strength index, 29 and action control will be assessed using a 6-item measure. 30 Responses to each item are recorded on 7-point Likert scales (strongly disagree to strongly agree). ...
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Introduction Health literacy describes the cognitive and social skills that individuals use to access, understand and act on health information. Health literacy interventions typically take the ‘universal precautions approach’ where all consumers are presented with simplified materials. Although this approach can improve knowledge and comprehension, its impact on complex behaviours is less clear. Systematic reviews also suggest that health literacy interventions underuse volitional strategies (such as planning) that play an important role in behaviour change. A recent study found volitional strategies may need to be tailored to the participant’s health literacy. The current study aims to replicate these findings in a sample of people who have diabetes and/or are overweight or obese as measured by body mass index, and to investigate the most effective method of allocating an action plan to a participant to reduce unhealthy snacking. Methods and analysis We plan to recruit approximately 2400 participants at baseline. Participants will receive one of two alternative online action plans intended to reduce unhealthy snacking (‘standard’ action plan or ‘literacy-sensitive’ action plan). Participants will be randomised to a method of allocation to an action plan: (1) random allocation; (2) allocation by health literacy screening tool or (3) allocation by participant selection. Primary outcome is self-reported serves of unhealthy snacks during the previous month. Multiple linear regression will evaluate the impact of health literacy on intervention effectiveness. The analysis will also identify independent contributions of each action plan, method of allocation, health literacy and participant selections on unhealthy snacking at 4-week follow-up. Ethics and dissemination This study was approved by the University of Sydney Human Research Ethics Committee (2017/793). Findings will be disseminated through peer-reviewed international journals, conferences and updates with collaborating public health bodies (Diabetes New South Wales (NSW) & Australian Capital Territory (ACT), and Western Sydney Local Health District). Trial registration number ACTRN12618001409268; Pre-results.
... Also, research on implementation intentions has revealed the conditions under which implementations intentions are more, or less, effective. For instance, athletes might find it intuitive to make several plans to attain their goals or to make backup plans in case one plan cannot be acted on -both of which can be detrimental to the effectiveness of implementation intentions (Verhoeven, Adriaanse, de Ridder, de Vet, & Fennis, 2013;Vinkers, Adriaanse, Kroese, & de Ridder, 2015). However, whether such results can be directly transferred to endurance performance is an open question. ...
... Implementation intentions are simple if-then action plans that specify when, where (if ) and how (then) to act. Verhoeven et al. (2013) investigated the effect of multiple implementation intentions targeting unhealthy snacking habits and found that whereas formulating a single plan successfully reduced both the number of snacking occasions and caloric intake from unhealthy snacks. ...
Article
Purpose The purpose of this paper is to indicate the need for and create an insightful understanding of the current factors contributing to consumer’s obesity levels due to their snack choices. Design/methodology/approach This paper reports on previous literature using publications from the Emerald Insight Journals, Google Scholar, ScienceDirect and Web of Science electronic database from 1999 to 2018 that validate and support existing literature. The retrieved literature is organised and classified into specific constructs. Findings Research into consumers’ choice of snacks from an environmental, cultural and health perspective is still underrepresented in the international scientific literature. More research is required on the specific effects of specific levels of the stated factors contributing to obesity. Health and cross-cultural studies are needed for a more comprehensive understanding of the relation between snack choices and factors contributing to obesity that will help to implement more efficient health measures. Originality/value This paper is of value to academics studying consumers’ snacking behaviour and public health practitioners evaluating qualitative and quantitative methods to address the obesity epidemic.
... These factors include the difficulty of performing the intended behavior (Luszczynska et al. 2011;Webb, Christian, and Armitage 2007), personality traits such as impulsivity (Churchill and Jessop 2011), weak intentions that suggest a lack of motivation in the first place (Sheeran, Webb, and Gollwitzer 2005), confusing or nonsalient prompts (Adriaanse, Gollwitzer et al. 2011), whether the behavior is strongly habitual (Webb, Sheeran, and Luszczynska 2009), and the number of plans required to perform the behavior. Research suggests that multiple plans can weaken intentions and reinforce the difficulty of achieving multiple goals (Dalton and Spiller 2012; Verhoeven et al. 2013). ...
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Public administrators rely on written communications to send information to citizens and stakeholders, and they are among the heaviest users of the postal service. Behavioral science research has identified several techniques that public administrators can use to increase compliance with written requests and, in turn, increase effectiveness. Currently, however, many written communications from government bodies are not written in a manner that utilizes these techniques. It remains an ongoing challenge for public administrators to identify, understand, and use these techniques in the written communications sent by their organizations. This article presents a framework capturing seven prominent techniques in a simple mnemonic—INSPIRE—that is already being used by several government bodies in Australia. It also provides practical examples of how to use each technique and demonstrates that using these techniques could result in large aggregate improvements in effectiveness and socially desirable outcomes of public administrators' written communications.
... Inwieweit sich Gewohnheitsverhalten bspw. im Bereich Ernährung und Bewegung entwickeln und beeinflussen lässt, war bereits Gegenstand einiger Untersuchungen [1,6,7,9,12,15,16]. So konnten Lally et al. [9] ...
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Background To develop a healthy habit, various authors suggest a 6‑ to 9‑week period of continuous practice. Despite these findings, little is known about the impact of wellbeing and mood in this process. Objectives The purpose of this study is to investigate the behavioural requirements for habit formation regarding continuity and temporal consistency, and to understand the impact of wellbeing and mood during this process. Methods In all, 48 individuals had to choose an individual, health-oriented behaviour to carry out daily for 12 weeks. During the 12 weeks the participants completed the Self-Report Habit Index (SRHI), the Profile of Mood States (POMS) and a questionnaire gathering continuity, consistency and wellbeing each week. Results The findings show a significant increase in SRHI score over time, indicating that participants began to develop a habit, particularly in the initial weeks. Significant differences were found in continuity, consistency and regarding the mood state, but not with regard to comfort. Conclusions It has been proven that continuity and consistency play an important role in developing habits and that mood potentially influences this process.
... Attesting to flexibility, implementation intentions turned out to facilitate the initiation of the planned response not only in the specified critical situation but also in sufficiently similar situations, with beneficial effects on goal attainment whenever this planned response was in fact required in these situations. This is an important observation because the exact features of a critical situation might often be difficult to anticipate, and research indicates that making a large number of plans, one for each anticipated potential critical situation, is not advisable (Verhoeven, Adriaanse, De Ridder, De Vet, & Fennis, 2013). Furthermore, the features of an anticipated critical situation might change over time and it seems desirable that implementation intentions nevertheless remain effective. ...
... On the other hand, several studies suggest that focus on a single implementation intention might be superior to multiple goal intentions (Dalton & Spiller, 2012). Additional research extends these findings by showing that formulating multiple plans in the service of the same goal is also not beneficial (Verhoeven et al., 2013). ...
Article
Most successful coaching engagements encourage clients to start, increase, decrease, modify, or stop behaviors that contribute to their effectiveness and performance on the job (Fogg, n.d.). Successfully sustaining new or altered behaviors over time until they become a habit is even more difficult (Nowack, 2009). Goal intentions (e.g., “I want to be a more participative and involvement-oriented leader”) have been found in a recent meta-analysis to be a weak predictor of acquiring new habits and account for approximately 28% of the variance in successful behavior-change efforts (Gollwitzer & Sheeran, 2006). Translating insight in coaching engagements to deliberate, varied, and ongoing practice has been shown to be associated with long-term successful behavior change (Nowack & Mashihi, 2012). This paper reviews current issues and best practices in goal intentions, goal striving, and goal flourishing to maximize coaching success with clients.
... Indeed, a number of researchers have highlighted the need for dismantling studies ( Cavanagh, Vartanian, Herman & Polivy, 2014;Shapiro, Carlson, Astin & Freedman, 2006). These issues are particularly important given that overburdening participants with strategies and rules may dilute effects and reduce adherence (Mata, Todd & Lippke, 2010;Verhoeven, Adriannse, de Ridder, de Vet & Fennis, 2013). And second, studies assessing the independent effects of mindfulness typically allow for a more detailed examination of mechanisms. ...
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Mindfulness is increasingly being used for weight management. However, the strength of the evidence for such an approach is unclear; although mindfulness-based weight management programs have had some success, it is difficult to conclude that the mindfulness components were responsible. Research in this area is further complicated by the fact that the term ‘mindfulness’ is used to refer to a range of different practices. Additionally, we have little understanding of the mechanisms by which mindfulness might exert its effects. This review addresses these issues by examining research that has looked at the independent effects of mindfulness and mindfulness-related strategies on weight loss and weight management related eating behaviors. As well as looking at evidence for effects, the review also considers whether effects may vary with different types of strategy, and the kinds of mechanisms that may be responsible for any change. It is concluded that there is some evidence to support the effects of (a) present moment awareness, when applied to the sensory properties of food, and (b) decentering. However, research in these areas has yet to be examined in a controlled manner in relation to weight management.
... Taken together, the studies by Verhoeven et al. (2013) and Dalton and Spiller (2012) provide guidance for consumers who want to attain multiple goals and use implementation intentions to facilitate goal attainment. When the goals pertain to the same domain (e.g., snacking habits) it is advisable to furnish only one of these goals with an implementation intention; goals pertaining to different domains (e.g., snacking habits and thriftiness), might however each be furnished with an implementation intention. ...
Chapter
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Implementation intentions (Gollwitzer, 1993, 1999, 2014) are if-then plans that help individuals attain their goals. Implementation intentions have proven beneficial in various domains in which individuals fall short of attaining their goals, from health behavior through academic achievement to interpersonal issues (for reviews, see Adriaanse, Vinkers, De Ridder, Hox, & De Wit, 2011; Bélanger-Gravel, Godin, & Amireault, 2013; Gollwitzer & Sheeran, 2006; Gollwitzer, 2014; Hagger & Luszczynska, 2014). The aim of this chapter is to present research on how implementation intentions influence the affective, cognitive and conative components of consumer behavior. We outline the nature of implementation intentions and describe moderators and mediators identified in previous research. Next, we adopt the perspective of comprehensive models of consumer behavior (e.g., Bettman, 1979; Blackwell, Miniard, & Engel, 2006; Howard & Sheth, 1969) and systematically review implementation intention effects along the lines of these models. Specifically, we describe how implementation intentions affect information acquisition (i.e., perception, processing and comprehension), components of the decision process (i.e., pre- and post-decisional evaluation) and internal and external influences on behavior (i.e., affect, norms, priming and mimicry) in consumer context. We conclude by outlining topics for future research on implementation intentions in the domain of consumer behavior.
... Third, findings from the literature regarding the effectiveness of making multiple implementation intentions on unhealthy eating habits in adults may be applicable here. It has been reported, for example, that implementation intentions are only effective in relation to the achievement of a single goal (Dalton & Spiller, 2012;Verhoeven, Adriaanse, Ridder, Vet, & Fennis, 2013). We justified the inclusion of multiple plans in our intervention based on the rationale that making plans to eat healthily requires the formation of a series of related goals, and this reflects more accurately real-life goal striving, rather than a contrived focus on a single goal. ...
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Objectives: This study evaluated a school-based behaviour change intervention for adolescents to address unhealthy eating habits that may otherwise “track” into adulthood. Design: A behaviour change intervention was conducted utilising implementation intention formation (or if-then planning) for adolescents to achieve two healthy eating goals: (1) including fruit and vegetable in each daily meal, and (2) replacing unhealthy snacks with healthy choices. Methods: Participants (N = 107) aged between 16 and 18 years were randomised to intervention, active control and passive control conditions. Intervention participants formed implementation intentions for achieving the healthy eating goals; participants in the active control condition completed health-related tasks; and passive control participants read health information. Eating habits and intentions were measured at baseline and 5-month follow-up. Results: Findings showed that the intervention was not effective in achieving the healthy eating goals. Conclusions: Our findings give some indication that implementation intentions alone may not be a powerful enough means of changing eating behaviour in this age group. We reflect in detail upon the elements of the intervention that may have prevented its success in changing behaviour, for example, its failure to raise motivation, and the target of potentially unsuitable self-regulatory goals. We also discuss our findings, for example, on forming multiple plans and the role of intentions, within the context of current literature.
... These findings may be interpreted as an indication that the increased automaticity associated with the exercise habit has freed self-regulatory capacity that participants could use to more effectively regulate other desirable health behaviours. This is also the hypothesised mechanism behind many interventions involving the formulation of one or more action plans (or implementation intentions) which are hypothesised to facilitate behaviour change by increasing the automaticity of behavioural performance (de Bruijn, Wiedemann, & Rhodes, 2014;Sheeran, Webb, & Gollwitzer, 2005;Verhoeven, Adriaanse, de Ridder, de Vet, & Fennis, 2013;Wiedemann, Lippke, & Schwarzer, 2012). Evaluated in a multiple-behaviour paradigm, the known mechanisms of planning interventions can be contrasted against a competing hypothesis, that planning increases the salience and priority of certain behaviours over that of alternative options. ...
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Objective: Research investigating cognitive moderators of the intention-behaviour relationship and psychological consequences of failure to enact intentions is usually conducted in a single-behaviour paradigm. A multiple-behaviour paradigm is introduced which overcomes bias inherent to single-behaviour designs and allows testing of novel hypotheses. Two exploratory studies illustrate the utility of this new paradigm by investigating the role of cognitive predictors and psychological correlates of intention-behaviour relationships. Method: The proposed method involves measuring multiple intentions across common areas of life activity at baseline and corresponding behaviours at follow-up. In two studies, 51 intentions and behaviours were assessed (49 by self-report, 2 objectively). In Study 1, participants (n = 126) also completed self-reported measures of everyday cognitive failures and dysexecutive behaviours, crystallised intelligence (Mill Hill Vocabulary Scale) at baseline and Quality of Life (QoL; follow-up). In Study 2, objective executive function measures (Stroop, Go/NoGo task and Word Fluency test) were completed by N = 30 participants. Results: The total number of intentions, cognitive, and QoL measures were unrelated to the percentage of intentions enacted. Crystallised intelligence was related to successful intention implementation and problems with emotion regulation were associated with forming fewer intentions and with fewer failed intentions. QoL was strongly related with more intentions, regardless of whether or not these were implemented. Study 2 showed that cognitive flexibility (word fluency) and task errors, rather than Stroop effect and Go/No-Go performance were related, to intention-behaviour congruence. Conclusion: Intention-behaviour relationships might be better understood when considering the multiple intentions and behaviours that people are engaged in at once at any one point in time. A multiple-behaviour paradigm suggests novel hypotheses. Preliminary findings reported here require replication. Anticipated applications of the paradigm are outlined and discussed.
... It is unsurprising that the POWeR Tracker app had greater impact on participants' engagement with their eating goals than physical activity goals given that the Web-based POWeR intervention places greater emphasis on changing day-to-day dietary routines. There is also growing evidence that individuals can struggle to pursue multiple goals and plans concurrently [64]. ...
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Advancements in mobile phone technology offer huge potential for enhancing the timely delivery of health behavior change interventions. The development of smartphone-based health interventions (apps) is a rapidly growing field of research, yet there have been few longitudinal examinations of how people experience and use these apps within their day-to-day routines, particularly within the context of a hybrid Web- and app-based intervention. Objective: This study used an in-depth mixed-methods design to examine individual variation in (1) impact on self-reported goal engagement (ie, motivation, self-efficacy, awareness, effort, achievement) of access to a weight management app (POWeR Tracker) when provided alongside a Web-based weight management intervention (POWeR) and (2) usage and views of POWeR Tracker. Methods: Thirteen adults were provided access to POWeR and were monitored over a 4-week period. Access to POWeR Tracker was provided in 2 alternate weeks (ie, weeks 1 and 3 or weeks 2 and 4). Participants’ goal engagement was measured daily via self-report. Mixed effects models were used to examine change in goal engagement between the weeks when POWeR Tracker was and was not available and whether the extent of change in goal engagement varied between individual participants. Usage of POWeR and POWeR Tracker was automatically recorded for each participant. Telephone interviews were conducted and analyzed using inductive thematic analysis to further explore participants’ experiences using POWeR and POWeR Tracker. Results: Access to POWeR Tracker was associated with a significant increase in participants’ awareness of their eating (β1=0.31, P=.04) and physical activity goals (β1=0.28, P=.03). The level of increase varied between individual participants. Usage data showed that participants used the POWeR website for similar amounts of time during the weeks when POWeR Tracker was (mean 29 minutes, SD 31 minutes) and was not available (mean 27 minutes, SD 33 minutes). POWeR Tracker was mostly accessed in short bursts (mean 3 minutes, SD 2 minutes) during convenient moments or moments when participants deemed the intervention content most relevant. The qualitative data indicated that nearly all participants agreed that it was more convenient to access information on-the-go via their mobiles compared to a computer. However, participants varied in their views and usage of the Web- versus app-based components and the informational versus tracking tools provided by POWeR Tracker. Conclusions: This study provides evidence that smartphones have the potential to improve individuals’ engagement with their health-related goals when used as a supplement to an existing online intervention. The perceived convenience of mobile access to information does not appear to deter use of Web-based interventions or strengthen the impact of app access on goal engagement. A mixed-methods design enabled exploration of individual variation in daily usage of the app-based tools.
... To enhance the efficacy of the implementation intentions, we also utilized evidence about moderators by including a number of other features. These were the use of an "if...then..." format [35], use of self-formulated rather than assigned implementation intentions [36], visualization of the implementation intention [33], the formation of just 1 implementation intention at a time [37,38], emailed reminders of the implementation intention [18], the opportunity to review and modify the implementation intention in subsequent weeks [39,34], and a limited amount of tailored feedback aimed at promoting self-efficacy and autonomy [40]. ...
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Background The HealthValues Healthy Eating Programme is a standalone Internet-based intervention that employs a novel strategy for promoting behavior change (analyzing one’s reasons for endorsing health values) alongside other psychological principles that have been shown to influence behavior. The program consists of phases targeting motivation (dietary feedback and advice, analyzing reasons for health values, thinking about health-related desires, and concerns), volition (implementation intentions with mental contrasting), and maintenance (reviewing tasks, weekly tips). Objective The aim was to examine the effects of the program on consumption of fruit and vegetables, saturated fat, and added sugar over a 6-month period. MethodsA total of 82 females and 18 males were recruited using both online and print advertisements in the local community. They were allocated to an intervention or control group using a stratified block randomization protocol. The program was designed such that participants logged onto a website every week for 24 weeks and completed health-related measures. Those allocated to the intervention group also completed the intervention tasks at these sessions. Additionally, all participants attended laboratory sessions at baseline, 3 months, and 6 months. During these sessions, participants completed a food frequency questionnaire (FFQ, the Block Fat/Sugar/Fruit/Vegetable Screener, adapted for the UK), and researchers (blind to group allocation) measured their body mass index (BMI), waist-to-hip ratio (WHR), and heart rate variability (HRV). ResultsData were analyzed using a series of ANOVA models. Per protocol analysis (n=92) showed a significant interaction for fruit and vegetable consumption (P=.048); the intervention group increased their intake between baseline and 6 months (3.7 to 4.1 cups) relative to the control group (3.6 to 3.4 cups). Results also showed overall reductions in saturated fat intake (20.2 to 15.6 g, P
Article
Underhydration has significant adverse physical and mental health effects, yet many people drink too little water. Implementation intentions have been found to effectively promote many health behaviors, but little is known about the processes underlying their effects in naturalistic settings, and whether they could improve water drinking. This mixed-methods study assessed the impact and potential underlying processes of using implementation intentions to increase self-reported water intake over a five-day follow-up. Ninety-five participants (Mage = 39, SD = 12) received an educational quiz to increase their water drinking motivation before being randomly assigned to the control or intervention group. Participants also completed a qualitative survey that assessed the processes underlying their attempts to increase water intake. Quantitative results suggested that most participants increased their average daily water intake regardless of group. Qualitative results indicated that implementation intention participants struggled with remembering and the perceived effort of preparation and drinking behaviors, which reduced the effect of planning on behavior. This study provides essential theoretical and methodological considerations for researchers studying implementation intentions, as the effects and mechanisms of implementation intentions in real-life situations may be more complex than previously assumed. For example, the results suggest that implementation intentions did not automatize remembering and performing the behavior in ways the current literature theorizes. Other kinds of interventions may be needed to improve the complex daily-life behaviour of water drinking.
Article
Objectives: Adolescents tend to overestimate the extent of peers' unhealthy snacking consumption and such misperceptions have been associated with increased personal unhealthy snacking. This study aims to test whether a Social Norms Approach (SNA) intervention which challenges these misperceptions of peers' unhealthy snacking will have a positive effect on students' personal unhealthy snacking behaviours, related attitudes, and behavioural intentions. Design: A quasi-experimental study tested the effectiveness of an in-school SNA intervention (n = 163) compared to a control condition (n = 95) among 11-12-year-old students. Method: Both conditions received healthy eating information, while students in the SNA intervention received additional normative feedback (outlining the discrepancies between perceived and actual unhealthy snacking of the majority based on baseline data) delivered through an interactive poster-making session. Students completed self-reported measures of personal unhealthy snacking, related-attitudes, behavioural intentions, and normative perceptions (descriptive and injunctive) at baseline, post-intervention, and at a 3-month follow-up. Results: Students who received SNA feedback were significantly less likely to overestimate peers' unhealthy snacking attitudes post-intervention (F(1,232) = 16.405, p < .001), and at 3-month follow-up consumed fewer unhealthy snacks (F(1,232) = 6.133, p = .014) and had less positive attitudes towards unhealthy snacking (F(1,198) = 8.779, p = .003). The changes in personal snacking attitudes at 3-month follow-up were mediated by changes in normative misperceptions about peers' unhealthy snacking attitudes post-intervention, which indicated that the reductions in normative misperceptions following SNA messages mediated the effect of the intervention. Conclusion: The results indicate that in-school SNA interventions which challenge normative misperceptions constitute a promising strategy for reducing unhealthy snacking in young adolescents.
Article
There is potential in delivering brief, educational interventions online, particularly for recreational athletes. This initial investigation examined how two online interventions were perceived by endurance participants and how they affected outcomes of interest. After measuring self-efficacy, 142 people were randomized to one of three groups (self-talk, implementation intentions, and control) before an endurance event. Ninety-four completed postevent measures, which were self-efficacy, goal attainment, performance satisfaction, coping, stress appraisals, and social validity. The interventions involved approximately 10 min of initial engagement with online material. Perceptions of stress controllability were significantly higher in the implementation intention group compared with the control. There were no other statistically significant effects. Nevertheless, both intervention groups were satisfied with their interventions, found them useful, and were planning to continue using them. The findings demonstrate the feasibility and value of using brief, online psychological interventions, which may be timely in our changing profession, as COVID-19 has moved many interventions online.
Article
Disease labels and causal explanations for certain symptoms or conditions have been found to have both positive and negative outcomes. For example, a diagnosis of polycystic ovary syndrome could conceivably motivate a person to engage in weight management, which is the recommended first line treatment. Furthermore, doctors may feel more comfortable discussing weight when linked to a medical condition. However, such a diagnosis may elicit feelings of increased anxiety, perceived severity and reduced sense of control. Mixed findings are also evident for impacts of genetic explanations on psychosocial outcomes and behaviours. Using hypothetical scenarios presented in an online survey, participants were asked to imagine that they were visiting their general practitioner due to experiencing weight gain, irregular periods, and more pimples than usual. Participants were randomised to receive different diagnostic labels (‘polycystic ovary syndrome, ‘weight’ or no label/description) and causal explanations (genetic or environmental) for their symptoms. Primary outcomes assessed included intention to eat a healthier diet and perceived personal control of weight (average score on scale 1–7 across 3 items). Secondary outcomes included weight stigma, blameworthiness, worry, perceived severity, self-esteem, belief diet will reduce risks and menu item choice. Participants were 545 females aged 18–45 years (mean = 33 years), living in Australia, recruited through a national online recruitment panel. The sample was overweight on average (BMI = 26.5). Participants reporting a PCOS diagnosis were excluded from analyses. We found no main effects of the label or explanation on intention to eat healthier or perceived personal control of weight. For secondary outcomes, those given the genetic explanation reported higher weight stigma (range 1–7; MD = 0.27, 95%CI:0.011,0.522), greater worry (range 1–7; MD = 0.27, 95%CI: 0.037,0.496), lower self-esteem (range 10–40; MD = 1.26, 95%CI: 0.28 to 2.24) and perceived their weight as more severe (range 1–7; MD = 0.28; 95%CI: 0.05,0.52) than those given the environmental explanation, averaged over disease label given. These findings further highlight the deleterious effects of genetic explanations on psychosocial outcomes and reinforce the need for caution when communicating the aetiology of weight-related health issues.
Article
Younger adolescents are at an age where they have increasing control of their diet, and where peers become an important social reference for acceptable and normative dietary behaviours. These normative perceptions are often inaccurate and can lead to the development of unhealthy eating practices; although, the role of normative misperceptions of peers' unhealthy snacking behaviours in younger adolescents' personal snacking behaviours is not clear. The current study was a cross-sectional analysis of baseline data from a social norms-based healthy eating intervention sampling two secondary schools in deprived areas of England. Students aged 11–12 years (n = 252) completed self-report measures of their demographic characteristics and personal behaviours, attitudes, intentions, and normative perceptions (descriptive and injunctive norms), relating to unhealthy snacking. Results indicated students overestimated peers' daily unhealthy snacks consumption by approximately 3.2 portions, misperceived peers to have more positive attitudes towards unhealthy snacking and more negative attitudes towards reducing snacking. The greater these misperceptions of peers' behaviours and attitudes, the more likely students were to consume unhealthy snacks and have positive attitudes about unhealthy snacking. Girls had a stronger intention to reduce their snacking behaviours if they had more positive attitudes to reducing snacking behaviours and misperceived peers to also have a positive attitude. In summary, 11- to 12-year-olds misperceive the snacking behaviour and attitudes of their peers, and such normative misperceptions are associated with students’ own snacking behaviours and attitudes. Interventions which challenge these misperceptions may assist in reducing the social acceptability of unhealthy snacking and in reducing unhealthy snacking amongst young adolescents.
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Endurance sports pose a plethora of mental demands that exercisers have to deal with. Unfortunately, investigations of exercise-specific demands and strategies to deal with them are insufficiently researched, leading to a gap in knowledge about athletic requirements and strategies used to deal with them. Here, we investigated which obstacles exercisers experience during an anaerobic (Wingate test) and an aerobic cycling test (incremental exercise test), as well as the strategies they considered helpful for dealing with these obstacles (qualitative analysis). In addition, we examined whether thinking of these obstacles and strategies in terms of if-then plans (or implementation intentions; i.e., “If I encounter obstacle O, then I will apply strategy S!”) improves performance over merely setting performance goals (i.e., goal intentions; quantitative analysis). N = 59 participants (age: M = 23.9 ± 6.5 years) performed both tests twice in a 2-within (Experimental session: 1 vs. 2) × 2-between (Condition: goal vs. implementation intention) design. Exercisers’ obstacles and strategies were assessed using structured interviews in Session 1 and subjected to thematic analysis. In both tests, feelings of exertion were the most frequently stated obstacle. Motivation to do well, self-encouragement, and focus on the body and on cycling were frequently stated strategies in both tests. There were also test-specific obstacles, such as boredom reported in the aerobic test. For session 2, the obstacles and strategies elicited in Session 1 were used to specify if-then plans. Bayesian mixed-factor ANOVA suggests, however, that if-then plans did not help exercisers to improve their performance. These findings shed novel light into the mental processes accompanying endurance exercise and the limits they pose on performance.
Article
Mindfulness is an important process involved in binge eating triggered by negative mood. However, the specific components of mindfulness and their differential roles in this process have not been explored. Accordingly, the aim of the present study was to investigate the role that two mindfulness components, namely, cognitive fusion with food craving and present moment awareness play in the relationship between depression and binge eating. A total of 228 South Korean women (M = 22.91, SD = 2.60) responded to a set of online questionnaires. The resultant data were analyzed to examine the mediating and moderating effects of cognitive fusion with food craving and present moment awareness on the relationship between depression and binge eating. The results showed that cognitive fusion with food craving significantly mediated the relationship between depression and binge eating. In addition, the interaction between present moment awareness and depression predicted the level of cognitive fusion with food craving. Depression was a stronger predictor of cognitive fusion with food craving for those with lower rather than higher levels of present moment awareness. Specifically, the positive indirect effect of cognitive fusion with food craving on the relationship between depression and binge eating was weaker for those with high levels of present moment awareness. These findings suggest that cognitive fusion with food craving is a proximal predictor of binge eating triggered by a depressed mood, while present moment awareness serves as a context which moderates the effect of depression on cognitive fusion with food craving.
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This study examines the efficacy of implementation intentions (II), a widely used self-regulatory strategy to help people achieve their goals. Although previous research has shown that the effect of II interventions is significantly higher in promoting healthy eating behaviours than in diminishing unhealthy eating behaviours, the factors that can moderate the effectiveness of these interventions remain unclear. In a meta-analysis of 70 interventions (N = 9689), we confirmed that II interventions for healthy eating behaviours yielded a medium significant effect size (d= .33) and a low significant effect size for unhealthy eating behaviors (d= .18). We show that the moderator variables of II interventions for healthy and unhealthy eating goals are very different. Regarding healthy eating, since moderator variables explain 53% of the variance in the heterogeneity of the effect sizes, the present study helps in gaining an understanding of the previous inconsistent results and offers suggestions for designing more efficient interventions. Effect size was negatively predicted by age, indicating that for younger people the effect size is higher, and II check, showing that if the instructor checks the plan it decreases its efficacy. Moreover, the effect of II interventions on students is significantly smaller than in non-student samples. In contrast, the effect size was positively predicted by initial training, off-line delivered interventions and, specific if-then and action plans versus complex plans. For unhealthy eating behaviours, our results show that there is less room to improve the intervention; there is only one moderator variable (plan formulation), and the heterogeneity found in the studies is lower for unhealthy eating behaviours (I2= 46.70%) than for healthy eating behaviours (I2= 73.25%), indicating that the intervention has low efficacy regardless of the design of the intervention.
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Objective Guidance to address health literacy often focuses on health education rather than tools to facilitate action, despite action being important for self-management. This study evaluated an online intervention informed by health literate design principles and behavior change theory to reduce unhealthy snacking. Methods 440 participants were recruited online and randomized to an intervention: 1) Health-literate action plan (guided implementation intention); 2) Standard action plan (self-guided implementation intention); 3) Education (healthy snacking fact-sheet). The primary outcome was self-reported unhealthy snacking. Follow-up was at 1 month. Results 373 participants (84.8%) completed follow-up. Half the sample had adequate health literacy (52%), and the other half had low (24%) or possibly low (25%) health literacy, as measured by Newest Vital Sign (NVS). At follow-up, lower health literacy was associated with more unhealthy snacks and there was no overall difference between intervention groups. However, participants with lower health literacy who used the health-literate action plan reported less unhealthy snacking compared to the standard action plan; the reverse was true for those with higher health literacy scores (b = 1.7, p = 0.03). People scoring 2 points below the mean NVS (M = 3.4, SD = 2.0) using the health-literate action plan reported eating 8 fewer serves of unhealthy snacks, whereas people scoring 2 points above the mean NVS reported eating 6 more serves of unhealthy snacks using the same tool. Conclusions These findings suggest that the universal precautions approach currently recommended for health information may be less effective for facilitating action than tailoring to health literacy level. Trial registration ANZCTR identifier: ACTRN12617001194358.
Chapter
In this chapter we discuss how, and under which conditions, implementation intentions can be used to overcome unwanted habits, with a focus on unhealthy eating habits. We will highlight the mechanisms by which implementation intentions are (in)effective in changing habits generally, as well as decreasing unwanted habits specifically. We will demonstrate that implementation intentions can be helpful to change habits, but also that there are several boundary conditions to their effectiveness, especially when they are applied to complex habits in the real world. We attempt to provide some useful guidelines for formulating effective plans and we will discuss potential solutions to deal with the limitations when applying implementation intentions in practical contexts. We elaborate on the usefulness of combining the formation of implementation intentions with other strategies, for example aimed at fostering insights into the cues triggering the habitual behaviour and establishing strong cue-response links. In this way, we hope to provide the reader with crucial information to maximally benefit from implementation intentions to break unwanted habits.
Chapter
Habitual behaviour encompasses many diverse behaviours ranging from simple ones like tooth brushing to complex ones like healthy eating and physical activity. In this chapter we describe how in order to understand the possible underlying mechanisms (e.g. rational or automatic processes) of behaviour it is important to consider the issue of behavioural complexity. We outline complexity as a combination of two factors: number of steps in the behaviour and the outcome of the behaviour. Thus, habitual behaviours can be considered onestep versus multistep and instant hedonic versus distal benefit behaviours. We synthesize existing research on predictive and prospective studies in these four categories and review the literature that describes relevant interventions, including effective behaviour change techniques we identified. Behaviours considered in this chapter are health related (healthy diet, physical activity, alcohol consumption, flossing, wearing a seatbelt), environmental (active commuting, recycling and water and electricity conservation), and social (use of social media and smartphones, volunteering and voting). We conclude by outlining some of the areas that we think need more research, some ideas for consideration and debate and some visions for future directions.
Chapter
Habits prevent flexible behavioural adjustments when the consequences are no longer desirable or even harmful, and as such may play an important role in health-related behaviours but also in psychopathologies like substance abuse or obsessive-compulsive disorder. Furthermore, increasing evidence suggests that some people are more prone than others to act out of habit, and experimental research has linked this ‘habit propensity’ to certain psychopathologies. We will provide a review of recent research into maladaptive habits in health- and clinical psychology and suggest that these two fields can benefit from each other’s methodologies and insights. We will discuss the theoretical and practical implications for therapeutic interventions, and point out promising avenues for future investigations.
Article
This article tests the effectiveness of commitment devices on weight loss. It can be applied as a health ‘nudge' that locks in future behaviours to achieve a desired health outcome, by staking money or reputation on achieving that goal. A field experiment randomly assigned 364 clients of an online weight loss service to either a reputational commitment device or an upfront refund on the monthly fee. The reputational commitment intervention was expected to combat time inconsistency and promote greater weight loss. Weight outcomes were measured at 12 weeks. The results showed that all experimental groups lost weight on average, but the group experiencing the reputational commitment reported end weight outcomes 1.5 kg higher than the comparison group, indicating slower weight loss (± 0.05, effect size -0.32). One possible explanation for the findings is ‘commitment overload'. The study nuances the understanding of commitment devices and how best to deploy them in health programmes including e-heath platforms.
Article
Objective: Action planning can help translate physical activity intentions into action by linking situational cues with behavioral responses. Dyadic planning extends action planning and refers to target persons forming plans for their own behavior change together with partners. This study investigated whether a dyadic planning intervention could increase physical activity in target persons and their partners, whether these effects were moderated by relationship quality and mediated by action control, activity-specific received partner support, and control. Method: Couples (n = 338; target persons randomized) were randomly assigned to (a) a dyadic planning condition (DPC); (b) an individual planning condition (IPC), in which target persons planned and partners worked on a distractor task; or (c) a control condition (CC), in which couples worked on a distractor task. During 3 assessments up to 6 weeks postintervention, moderate (primary outcome) and vigorous activity were objectively measured; other variables were self-reported. Multilevel and path models were fit. Results: There were no beneficial direct effects of the intervention for DPC target persons. Over time, DPC partners' vigorous activity increased, but decreased again. At lower relationship quality, DPC target persons' activity decreased, whereas IPC target persons' vigorous activity increased. Mediation hypotheses were not supported. Mutual influence models indicated positive effects of partners' on target persons' moderate activity in DPC and CC, whereas for IPC, negative effects of target persons' on partners' moderate activity emerged. Conclusions: Findings revealed the complexity of effects of dyadic planning on behavior change. Adding relationship quality to the equation clarified effects of DPC and IPC on physical activity. (PsycINFO Database Record
Conference Paper
The SAL (simple situated ambient logger) is an infrastructure and interface designed to enable people to do logging. They can use it to configure what they want to log each day and they are able to place their logger in a convenient location that works for them. Their logged data is stored in their personal store and the SAL's interface shows a history of their progress in the last month. This paper describes the user view of the SAL logger and reports two formative studies of SAL, the first a general auto-ethnography study by the authors and a second, small study for logging food intake. Our key contributions are the insights from these formative studies of the SAL loggers.
Article
The moderating role of academic goal conflict in the relations between action planning (AP) and coping planning (CP) with physical activity was tested using samples of university students concurrently pursuing an academic and a physical activity goal. In Study 1 (N = 317), AP was found to positively relate to physical activity goal progress at low, but not at high, levels of goal conflict. CP trended toward being positively related to goal progress at high, but not at low levels of goal conflict. Study 2 (N = 97), using a 1-week daily diary design and measures of self-reported physical activity behavior and goal progress, showed that daily AP positively related to daily physical activity outcomes on days when students experienced lower, but not higher, levels of goal conflict relative to their average. Conversely, CP positively related to daily physical activity outcomes on days when students experienced higher, but not lower, levels of goal conflict. © 2015 by the Society for Personality and Social Psychology, Inc.
Article
Adolescents are an important population to target with energy-saving interventions: Not only are adolescents high consumers of energy, but they are also the adult consumers of the future. In the present study, an online energy-saving intervention was developed based on implementation intentions, a widely used psychological behavior change technique. A total of 180 adolescents, aged 13 to 15 years, were recruited using purposeful sampling and were allocated to either the intervention or control condition. A significant increase in adolescent’s self-reported energy-saving behavior was found among adolescents who had received the intervention, which was sustained at the 6-week follow-up. However, some adolescents were more affected by the intervention than others; adolescents who already actively engaged in energy saving (as identified by their readiness to change prior to the intervention) reported a significant increase in energy-saving behaviors as a consequence of participation in the intervention, whereas those who were not already saving energy did not.
Article
Objective: Implementation intentions (if-then plans) are helpful to health behaviour change. As these plans specify only one goal-directed behaviour for one specific situation, however, their effectiveness may be limited when a planned behaviour is impossible to execute in situ. The present research examines whether and how planning more than one goal-directed response for the same situation ('making a Plan B') affects successful self-regulation of eating behaviour. Design and main outcome measures: In Study 1, participants formulated either one or two plans, after which a lexical decision task was administered to assess association strength between the if-part and the then-part(s). In Study 2, the effect of making one, two or no plan(s) was assessed on actual eating behaviour, after which a Stroop task measured cognitive load as an additional explanatory mechanism. Results: Study 1 revealed that making a Plan B disrupts the creation of strong if-then associations during plan formation. Study 2 showed that making a Plan B yields increased unhealthy food intake compared to making one or no plan, and induces greater cognitive load during plan enactment. Conclusion: Making a Plan B interferes with essential cognitive processes during different stages of planning, leading to an increased likelihood of self-regulatory failure.
Article
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The fan effect (J. R. Anderson, 1974) has been attributed to interference among competing associations to a concept. Recently, it has been suggested that such effects might be due to multiple mental models (G. A. Radvansky, D. H. Spieler, & R. T. Zacks, 1993) or suppression of concepts (M. C. Anderson & B. A. Spellman, 1995; A. R. A. Conway & R. W. Engle, 1994). It was found that the Adaptive Control of Thought - Rational (ACT-R) theory, which embodies associative interference, is consistent with the results of G. A. Radvansky et al. and that there is no evidence for concept suppression in a new fan experiment. The ACT-R model provides good quantitative fits to the results, as shown in a variety of experiments. The 3 key concepts in these fits are (a) the associative strength between 2 concepts reflects the degree to which one concept predicts the other; (b) foils are rejected by retrieving mismatching facts; and (c) participants can adjust the relative weights they give to various cues in retrieval.
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The present experiment investigated cognitive and behavioral effects of planning (i.e. forming implementation intentions) on goal pursuit during the performance of mundane behaviors. Participants received the goal to collect a coupon halfway the hall from the lab to the cafeteria. Later, they were also given the task to go from the lab to the cafeteria. Thus participants had to attain a new goal by interrupting a mundane behavior. Some participants enriched their goal with implementation intentions, others did not. Results showed that participants who formed implementation intentions were more effective in goal pursuit than the control group. Importantly, the data suggest that the effects of planning on goal completion are mediated by a heightened mental accessibility of environmental cues related to the goal completion task. Copyright © 1999 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
Article
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Past behavior guides future responses through 2 processes. Well-practiced behaviors in constant contexts recur because the processing that initiates and controls their performance becomes automatic. Frequency of past behavior then reflects habit strength and has a direct effect on future performance. Alternately, when behaviors are not well learned or when they are performed in unstable or difficult contexts, conscious decision making is likely to be necessary to initiate and carry out the behavior. Under these conditions, past behavior (along with attitudes and subjective norms) may contribute to intentions, and behavior is guided by intentions. These relations between past behavior and future behavior are substantiated in a meta-analytic synthesis of prior research on behavior prediction and in a primary research investigation.
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When people encounter problems in translating their goals into action (e.g., failing to get started, becoming distracted, or falling into bad habits), they may strategically call on automatic processes in an attempt to secure goal attainment. This can be achieved by plans in the form of implementation intentions that link anticipated critical situations to goal-directed responses ("Whenever situation x arises, I will initiate the goal-directed response y!"). Implementation intentions delegate the control of goal-directed responses to anticipated situational cues, which (when actually encountered) elicit these responses automatically. A program of research demonstrates that implementation intentions further the attainment of goals, and it reveals the underlying processes. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
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A field experiment with 102 undergraduate students demonstrated that forming implementation intentions was effective in changing complex everyday behavior, in this case establishing a healthier diet. Ss were administered a questionnaire that assessed their current eating habits. The Ss in the experimental condition were then asked to form implementation intentions, i.e., they were asked to pick out a day from the 5 days following the completion of the questionnaire during which they would eat healthily. All Ss were then asked to keep a diary for the 5 days following the completion of the questionnaire detailing their eating patterns. Results show that the effect of implementation intentions was additive to the prediction of healthy eating by behavioral intentions to eat healthily. Implementation intentions were pitted against individual differences in counterintentional (unhealthy) habits. The effects of implementation intentions and counterintentional habits were independent, suggesting that implementation intentions did not break the negative influence of unhealthy habits, and yet managed to make those with unhealthy habits eat healthier in habit-unrelated respects. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
Article
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The fan effect (J. R. Anderson, 1974) has been attributed to interference among competing associations to a concept. Recently, it has been suggested that such effects might be due to multiple mental models (G. A. Radvansky, D. H. Spieler & R. T. Zacks, 1993) or suppression of concepts (M. C. Anderson & B. A. Spellman, 1995; A. R. A. Conway & R. W. Engle, 1994). It was found that the Adaptive Control of Thought-Rational (ACT-R) theory, which embodies associative interference, is consistent with the results of G. A. Radvansky et al. and that there is no evidence for concept suppression in a new fan experiment. The ACT-R model provides good quantitative fits to the results, as shown in a variety of experiments. The 3 key concepts in these fits are (a) the associative strength between 2 concepts reflects the degree to which one concept predicts the other; (b) foils are rejected by retrieving mismatching facts; and (c) participants can adjust the relative weights they give to various cues in retrieval.
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Implementation intentions are specific plans regarding how, when, and where to pursue a goal (Gollwitzer). Forming implementation intentions for a single goal has been shown to facilitate goal achievement, but do such intentions benefit multiple goals? If so, people should form implementation intentions for all their goals, from eating healthily to tidying up. An investigation into this question suggests that the benefits of implemental planning for attaining a single goal do not typically extend to multiple goals. Instead, implemental planning draws attention to the difficulty of executing multiple goals, which undermines commitment to those goals relative to other desirable activities and thereby undermines goal success. Framing the execution of multiple goals as a manageable endeavor, however, reduces the perceived difficulty of multiple goal pursuit and helps consumers accomplish the various tasks they planned for. This research contributes to literature on goal management, goal specificity, the intention-behavior link, and planning.
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We argue that habit is a psychological construct, rather than simply past behavioral frequency. In 4 studies, a 12-item index of habit strength (the Self-Report Habit Index, SRHI) was developed on the basis of features of habit; that is, a history of repetition, automaticity (lack of control and awareness, efficiency), and expressing identity. High internal and test-retest reliabilities were found. The SRHI correlated strongly with past behavioral frequency and the response frequency measure of habit (Verplanken, Aarts, van Knippenberg, & van Knippenberg, 1994). The index discriminated between behaviors varying in frequency, and also between daily vs. weekly habits. The SRHI may be useful as a dependent variable, or to determine or monitor habit strength without measuring behavioral frequency.
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Objective: Although increasing evidence shows the importance of habits in explaining health behaviour, many studies still rely solely on predictors that emphasize the role of conscious intentions. The present study was designed to test the importance of habit strength in explaining unhealthy snacking behaviour in a large representative community sample (N= 1,103). To test our hypothesis that habits are crucial when explaining unhealthy snacking behaviour, their role was compared to the 'Power of Food', a related construct that addresses sensitivity to food cues in the environment. Moreover, the relation between Power of Food and unhealthy snacking habits was assessed. Design and methods: A prospective design was used to determine the impact of habits in relation to intention, Power of Food and a number of demographic variables. One month after filling out the questionnaire, including measures of habit strength and Power of Food, participants reported their unhealthy snacking behaviour by means of a 7-day snack diary. Results: Results showed that habit strength was the most important predictor, outperforming all other variables in explaining unhealthy snack intake. Conclusions: The findings demonstrate that snacking habits provide a unique contribution in explaining unhealthy snacking behaviour, stressing the importance of addressing habit strength in further research and interventions concerning unhealthy snacking behaviour.
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To test whether forming and memorizing more action plans has larger effects than generating fewer plans. In a randomized controlled trial with five intervention groups and one control group, 478 participants were asked to form one, two, three, four, or five action plans, or to complete questionnaires only (control group). One week later, behavior change was measured and participants of the intervention groups completed a free recall task. Outcome measures are daily intake of fruit and vegetables as well as recall of plans. Fruit and vegetable intake increased with higher numbers of plans, and was significantly larger in groups that formed four (d = 0.36) or five plans (d = 0.48) as compared to controls. The sum of recalled plans reflected the number of generated plans, but was unrelated to behavior change. Generating multiple plans benefits behavior change, but to be implemented they need not be recalled.
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Implementation intentions specifying the replacement of a habitual response with an alternative response in a critical situation can overrule habits. In three experiments the cognitive effects of such counterhabitual implementation intentions were investigated. Results showed that implementation intentions eliminated the cognitive advantage of the habitual means in the "horse race" with the alternative response. That is, in the control condition, the habitual means was more accessible than the alternative means on encountering the critical situation, but this was no longer the case when implementation intentions were formulated. However, the cognitive advantage of the habitual means was not immediately replaced by an automatic activation of the alternative means. This suggests that formulating counterhabitual implementation intentions increases individuals' flexibility to choose which behavior to perform in the critical situation but that actual behavior will depart from their habits only to the extent that individuals have strong alternative goal intentions.
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Holding a strong goal intention ("I intend to reach Z!") does not guarantee goal achievement, because people may fail to deal effectively with selfregulatory problems during goal striving. This review analyzes wether realization of goal intentions is facilitated by forming an implementation intention that spells out the when, where, and how of goal striving in advance ("If situation Y is encountered, then I will initiate goal-directed behavior X!"). Findings from 94 independent tests showed that implementation intentions had a positive effect of medium-to-large magnitude (d= .65) on goal attainment. Implementation intentions were effective in promoting the initiation of goal striving, the shielding of ongoing goal pursuit from unwanted influences, disengagement from failing courses of action, and conservation of capability for future goal striving. There was also strong support for postulatad component processes: Implementation intention formation both enhanced the accessibility of specified opportunities and automated respective goal-directed responses. Several directions for future research are outlined.
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Forming implementation intentions (specifying when, where and how to act) has been proposed as a potentially effective and inexpensive intervention, but has mainly been studied in controlled settings for straightforward behaviors. To examine if forming implementation intentions (II) could be used in large-scale, population-based interventions that aim to promote more complex and clinically relevant behavior change, we tested the impact of different II on increasing daily physical activity (PA) aimed at weight maintenance among 709 Dutch adults. At T0, participants were randomly allocated to a control group or to form II for 1) a prescribed action (walking), 2) self-selected activities, 3) self-selected activities and repeat making these II two times. All participants were asked to increase PA by at least two hours a week (15-20 minutes per day). Post-tests took place two weeks (response 85%), three months (response 78%) and six months (response 79%) post-intervention. No main effects of II formation on BMI or physical activity were found. Intention to increase physical activity moderated the effects of repeated II, but not of the other II conditions. Forming repeated II had a positive effect on total PA and number of active days for respondents with strong intentions. Implementation intention interventions may not yet be ready for implementation on its own for large-scale obesity prevention in the general public. Future research should test strategies for optimal II formation in both initiating and maintaining behavioral change. ISRCTN81041724.
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Implementation intentions promote acting on one's good intentions. But does specifying where and when to act also suffice when goals involve complex change that requires not merely initiating a behavior but rather substituting a habit with a new response? In a pilot study and two experiments, the authors investigated the efficacy of implementation intentions to replace unhealthy snacks with healthy snacks by linking different types of cues for unhealthy snacking (if-part) to healthy snacking (then-part). The pilot study identified cues for unhealthy snacking, differentiating between situational (where/when) and motivational (why) cues. Studies 1 and 2 tested the efficacy of implementation intentions that specified either situational or motivational cues in altering snacking habits. Results showed that implementation intentions specifying motivational cues decreased unhealthy snack consumption whereas the classic specification of where and when did not. Extending previous research, for complex behavior change "why" seems more important than "where and when."
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This study tested the idea of habits as a form of goal-directed automatic behavior. Expanding on the idea that habits are mentally represented as associations between goals and actions, it was proposed that goals are capable of activating the habitual action. More specific, when habits are established (e.g., frequent cycling to the university), the very activation of the goal to act (e.g., having to attend lectures at the university) automatically evokes the habitual response (e.g., bicycle). Indeed, it was tested and confirmed that, when behavior is habitual, behavioral responses are activated automatically. In addition, the results of 3 experiments indicated that (a) the automaticity in habits is conditional on the presence of an active goal (cf. goal-dependent automaticity; J. A. Bargh, 1989), supporting the idea that habits are mentally represented as goal-action links, and (b) the formation of implementation intentions (i.e., the creation of a strong mental link between a goal and action) may simulate goal-directed automaticity in habits.
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Reducing dietary fat, saturated fat, and sodium and increasing intakes of dietary fiber and fruits and vegetables are important for cardiopulmonary risk reduction. Behaviorally, these dietary changes are very challenging, and in different ways. Fewer than half of U.S. adults have diets meeting recommended intakes of these constituents, and many do not see a need to align their diets with recommendations. Various nutrition education and behavioral counseling approaches have been shown to facilitate changes in fat, fiber, sodium, and fruits and vegetables, but primarily in research settings and among the highly motivated. Practice-based and interdisciplinary studies are needed to refine strategies to effect long-term dietary changes, to differentiate behavioral issues for changes involving additions versus deletions from the diet, and to elucidate the roles of sensory, psychosocial, and contextual factors in adoption and maintenance.
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Two studies tested whether action control by implementation intentions is sensitive to the activation and strength of participants' underlying goal intentions. In Study 1, participants formed implementation intentions (or did not) and their goal intentions were measured. Findings revealed a significant interaction between implementation intentions and the strength of respective goal intentions. Implementation intentions benefited the rate of goal attainment when participants had strong goal intentions but not when goal intentions were weak. Study 2 activated either a task-relevant or a neutral goal outside of participants' conscious awareness and found that implementation intentions affected performance only when the relevant goal had been activated. These findings indicate that the rate of goal attainment engendered by implementation intentions takes account of the state (strength, activation) of people's superordinate goal intentions.
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Increasing evidence suggests that implementation intentions are effective in moving people towards achieving health behaviour goals. However, the type of health behaviours for which they work best is unclear. Furthermore, implementation intentions appear to be less effective when studied in clinical rather than student populations. This prospective study tested implementation intentions with a complex, repeated health behaviour in a patient sample. A total of 120 cardiac patients in the UK were asked to increase their daily fruit and vegetable consumption by two portions and to maintain this over 3 months. Participants were randomly assigned to three groups (control, Theory of Planned Behaviour (TPB) questionnaire, TPB questionnaire+implementation intention) and telephoned at 7, 28 and 90 days follow-up to record daily consumption (24-h recall measure); 94 participants completed the study. Daily fruit and vegetable consumption increased from 2.88 portions (SD=1.67) at recruitment to 4.28 portions (SD=2.25) at 90 days. A 4x3 (time by group) mixed design ANCOVA was computed with daily fruit and vegetable consumption at recruitment entered as a covariate. This revealed a significant time effect (F (3, 270)=29.79, p<0.001) (eta2=0.25) but non-significant group (F (2, 90)=0.32, p=0.73) (eta2=0.07) and time by group effects (F (6, 270)=0.48, p=0.82) (eta2=0.01). There was also a significant main effect of the covariate (F (1, 90)=48.51, p<0.001) (eta2=0.35) and a significant time by covariate effect (F (3, 270)=12.14, p<0.001) (eta2=0.12). Substantial increases in fruit and vegetable consumption were achieved particularly by participants who were eating low levels at recruitment. Consumption was not improved by implementation intentions. These findings are discussed in the context of the targeted health behaviour and sample.
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Forming an implementation intention or "if-then plan" promotes the attainment of different types of goals (Gollwitzer, 1999; Gollwitzer & Sheeran, 2006). So far, research on implementation intentions has focused on the initiation of goal striving, whereas the issue of shielding of ongoing goal striving has been largely neglected. In two field experiments concerned with dieting (Study 1) and athletic goals (Study 2), goal shielding was supported by implementation intentions geared at controlling potentially interfering inner states (i.e., cravings for junk food in Study 1, and disruptive thoughts, feelings, and physiological states in Study 2). In both experiments, forming if-then plans enhanced the rate of goal attainment. Thus, implementation intention formation can be used to promote the realization of desired outcomes not only by facilitating getting started with goal striving but also by preventing goal striving from straying off course.
Article
The present article includes separate meta-analyses showing that self-concordance and implementation intentions are significantly positively associated with goal progress. Study 1 confirmed the positive relations of both self-concordance and implementation intentions to weekend goal progress. Study 2 confirmed the positive relation of self-concordance with monthly progress on New Year's resolutions but failed to find a direct benefit for implementation intentions. Both studies, however, obtained a significant interaction effect indicating that goal self-concordance and implementation intentions combined synergistically to facilitate goal progress. The article also reports a meta-analysis and results from the 2 studies that demonstrated that goal progress was associated with improved affect over time.
Article
This study rested the idea of habits as a form of goal-directed automatic behavior. Expanding on the idea that habits are mentally represented as associations between goals and actions, it was proposed that goals are capable of activating the habitual action. More specific, when habits are established (e.g., frequent cycling to the university), the very activation of the goal to act (e.g., having to attend lectures at the university) automatically evokes the habitual response (e.g., bicycle). Indeed, it was tested and confirmed that, when behavior is habitual, behavioral responses are activated automatically. in addition, the results of 3 experiments indicated that (a) the automaticity in habits is conditional on the presence of an active goal (cf. goal-dependent automaticity; J. A. Bargh, 1989), supporting the idea that habits are mentally represented as goal-action links, and (b) the formation of implementation intentions (i.e., the creation of a strong mental link between a goal and action) may simulate goal-directed automaticity in habits.
Article
Self-regulation is the process by which people direct their thoughts, feelings, and actions in order to achieve their goals. For example, how does a person control their alcohol consumption or remember to feed the cat? A starting point for understanding self-regulation is the concept of intention, which is assumed to capture the motivational factors that influence behaviour. However, recent experimental evidence suggests that a ‘medium-to-large’ change in intention leads only to a ‘small-to-medium’ change in subsequent behaviour. Investigation of the volitional issues that people face when trying to act on their intentions reveals that intentions are more likely to be translated into behaviour if they are supplemented with specific plans about when, where, and how to perform be aviour (known as ‘implementation intentions’, Gollwitzer, 1999). Furthermore, there is evidence that motivation and volition interact such that implementation intentions only benefit self-regulation when respective goal intentions are strong and activated. The final part of this review considers evidence for two mechanisms which may underlie the beneficial effects of implementation intentions; namely, heightened accessibility of specified situational cues and strong cue-response linkages.
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automated social cognitive processes categorize, evaluate, and impute the meanings of behavior and other social information, and this input is then ready for use by conscious and controlled judgment and decision processes / review . . . the literature on automaticity in social cognition] / discuss the research in terms of its relevance for the] issues of awareness, intentionality, efficiency, and control (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)(chapter)
Article
The potential of using implementation intentions—action plans that link a critical situational cue to a specific goal-directed behavior—to bridge the intention–behavior gap in consumer behavior has been limited by the practice of using explicit instructions to induce the construct. In two studies, we therefore tested the effectiveness of an indirect, persuasive strategy that benefits from the positive consequences of implementation intentions by ‘mimicking’ their underlying psychological processes. Experiment 1 showed that a strategy presenting vivid information on critical cues and appropriate behavioral responses affected mental imagery. Experiment 2 demonstrated that this strategy affected actual purchase behavior.
Article
Although goal theorists have speculated about the causes and consequences of making progress at personal goals, little longitudinal research has examined these issues. In the current prospective study, participants with stronger social and self-regulatory skills made more progress in their goals over the course of a semester. In turn, goal progress predicted increases in psychological well-being, both in short-term (5-day) increments and across the whole semester; At both short- and long-term levels of analysis, however, the amount that well-being increased depended on the "organismic congruence" of participants' goals. That is, participants benefited most from goal attainment when the goals that they pursued were consistent with inherent psychological needs. We conclude that a fuller understanding of the relations between goals, performance, and psychological well-being requires recourse to both cybernetic and organismic theories of motivation.
Article
Previous research has shown that implementation intentions are effective tools to promote new behavior. The present study aimed to provide the first evidence that conscious planning is an effective tool in replacing well-learned habits with new habits. This was tested in a field-experiment on repetitive behavior in the domain of recycling, using 109 employees of a tele-company as participants. Recycling behavior of the participants was observed by the actual amount of paper and the number of plastic cups in their personal wastebaskets. Following a pre-measure, participants were assigned to either implementation intention conditions, conditions in which an eye-catching facility was placed to promote recycling behavior, or control conditions. Recycling behavior was substantially improved in the facility as well as the implementation intention conditions in week 1 and week 2 and still 2 months after the manipulation. These data supported our hypothesis that planning breaks down unwanted habits and creates new ones.
Article
Background: Planning has been found to support behaviour change. How well planning interventions translate into behaviour change might vary according to the number of plans and baseline levels of behaviour. This study tested effects of the number of action plans and coping plans at two stages of change in physical activity, i.e. in motivated, less active persons (intenders) and active individuals (actors). Methods: Participants were 560 employees of a logistics service company who specified up to three action plans and coping plans or completed an active control intervention. Change in physical activity was measured 4 weeks later. Direct and indirect effects of baseline stage and number of action plans and coping plans were tested by variance analyses and regression procedures. Results: Intenders generated more action plans than actors, but stage groups did not differ regarding coping plans. Intervention effects on activity were strongest in intenders and those who specified more plans (two action plans, or three coping plans). The number of action plans mediated between baseline stage (intenders vs. actors) and changes in activity. Conclusions: The study underlines the effectiveness of action plans and coping plans, particularly in less active individuals. It further suggests identifying the optimum number of plans required to attain a satisfactory behaviour change.
Article
This systematic review and meta-analysis examined whether implementation intentions are an effective tool to help people put their intentions to eat a healthy diet into practice. Additionally, it was investigated whether the quality of the outcome measures and the quality of the control conditions that are used in these studies influence implementation intentions' effectiveness. Twenty three empirical studies investigating the effect of implementation intentions on eating behavior were included. In assessing the empirical evidence, a distinction was made between studies that aim to increase healthy eating (i.e., eating more fruits) and studies that aim to diminish unhealthy eating (i.e., eating fewer unhealthy snacks). Implementation intentions are an effective tool for promoting the inclusion of healthy food items in one's diet (Cohen's d=.51), but results for diminishing unhealthy eating patterns are less strong (Cohen's d=.29). For studies aiming to increase healthy eating, it was found that higher quality outcome measures and lower quality control conditions tended to yield stronger effects. Implementation intentions are somewhat more effective in promoting healthy eating than in diminishing unhealthy eating, although for some studies promoting healthy eating effect sizes may have been inflated due to less than optimal control conditions.
Article
Implementation intention formation promotes effective goal striving and goal attainment. However, little research has investigated whether implementation intentions promote behaviour change when people possess strong antagonistic habits. Experiment 1 developed relatively habitual responses that, after a task switch, had a detrimental impact on task performance. Forming an if-then plan reduced the negative impact of habit on performance. However, the effect of forming implementation intentions was smaller among participants who possessed strong habits as compared to participants who had weaker habits. Experiment 2 provided a field test of the role of habit strength in moderating the relationship between implementation intentions and behaviour in the context of smoking. Implementation intentions reduced smoking among participants with weak or moderate smoking habits, but not among participants with strong smoking habits. In summary, habit strength moderates the effectiveness of if-then plan formation in breaking unwanted habits.
Article
Food intake by normal humans has been investigated both in the laboratory and under free-living conditions in the natural environment. For measurement of real-world intake, the diet-diary technique is imperfect and tends to underestimate actual intakes but it appears to be sensitive, can detect subtle influences on eating behavior, and produces reliable and valid measures. Research studies in the real world show the multivariate richness of the natural environment, which allows investigation of the complexities of intake regulation, and even causation can be investigated. Real-world research can overcome some of the weaknesses of laboratory studies, where constraints on eating are often removed or missing, facilitatory influences on eating are often controlled or eliminated, the importance of variables can be overestimated, and important influences can be missed because of the short durations of the studies. Real-world studies have shown a wide array of physiologic, psychological, and social variables that can have potent and immediate effects on intake. Compensatory mechanisms, including some that operate with a 2- to 3-d delay, adjust for prior excesses. Heredity affects all aspect of food-intake regulation, from the determination of body size to the subtleties of the individual preferences and social proclivities and the extent to which environmental factors affect the individual. Hence, real-world research teaches valuable lessons, and much more is needed to complement laboratory studies.
Article
The present article includes separate meta-analyses showing that self-concordance and implementation intentions are significantly positively associated with goal progress. Study 1 confirmed the positive relations of both self-concordance and implementation intentions to weekend goal progress. Study 2 confirmed the positive relation of self-concordance with monthly progress on New Year's resolutions but failed to find a direct benefit for implementation intentions. Both studies, however, obtained a significant interaction effect indicating that goal self-concordance and implementation intentions combined synergistically to facilitate goal progress. The article also reports a meta-analysis and results from the 2 studies that demonstrated that goal progress was associated with improved affect over time.
Article
This study evaluates the effectiveness of an intervention based on the concept of implementation intentions for reducing dietary fat intake. Participants (n=264) completed questionnaires on their motivation to eat a low-fat diet before being randomized to either an experimental condition, which required them to form an implementation intention, or a control condition. Results showed that, after 1 month, fat intake, saturated fat intake, and the proportion of energy derived from fat decreased significantly in the experimental group but not in the control group. This difference could not be explained by differences in motivation between the 2 groups. The findings are discussed in relation to the use of implementation intentions instead of tailored interventions to change behavior in general populations.