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Thinking is the best way to travel: towards an ecological interactionist approach; a comment on Peters and Crutzen

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... This is what we attempted to express in the nihilistic assumption of pragmatic nihilism that "the variables hypothesised by our theories do not exist" (Peters & Crutzen, 2017). We do not claim that nothing exists to link psychology to the physical reality (Gruijters, 2017), or that variables are equivalent to their operationalisations (De Vries, 2017;Fried, 2017;Trafimow, 2017). 1 Instead, pragmatic nihilism urges scientific modesty. It expresses the idea that it is highly unlikely that the variables postulated by any of the currently prevailing theories exist as such in reality. ...
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Researchers studying relapse for an addictive behavior have employed two different conceptual models. Researchers concerned with typologies of relapse situations have developed a variety of discrete classes of high risk situations. Researchers who have employed a Self-efficacy approach have typically assessed different situations but scored the measure as a single general construct. Using structural modeling, this paper evaluates five alternative measurement models, representing alternative conceptualizations. A hierarchical model which integrates the previously competing models provided the best fit to the data and serves to explain a large body of previous findings. The model includes three first order constructs (Positive/Social; Negative/Affective; and Habit/Addictive) and one general second-order factor. The results were replicated across two different response formats and two different subject samples.
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Tailoring information to individual characteristics of a person is a promising line of development of self-help interventions. This article presents a three-phase methodology for developing computer-generated tailored interventions. The first phase of the development concerns the formulation of intervention objectives on the basis of analyses of the cognitive determinants of behavior. The second phase concerns the core of the development of a tailored intervention. For each objective, a so-called tailoring matrix is developed which specifies the individual characteristics to which the message will be adapted to. The tailoring matrices are the basis of the tailored messages and the tailoring questionnaire which will assess the individual characteristics. In the third phase, all the separately written messages must be integrated to one coherent intervention text and the lay-out is designed. This methodology may result in largely different tailored interventions depending on the theoretical framework used, the adaptation of the messages and the inclusion of feedback.
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Four studies were performed to test whether Ajzen's (1988, 1991) concept of perceived behavioural control is really an amalgamation of two variables, which we term 'perceived control' and 'perceived difficulty'. Perceived control refers to the extent to which people consider the performance of a behaviour to be under their voluntary control. Perceived difficulty refers to whether people consider a behaviour to be easy or difficult to perform, Findings from Studies 1 to 4 demonstrate that it is possible to perform manipulations that affect perceived control more than perceived difficulty, or that affect perceived difficulty more than perceived control. Studies 2-4 used a variety of paradigms to show that people distinguish between beliefs that are presumed to underlie perceived control and perceived difficulty. Finally, we performed a meta-analysis in Study 5 to determine whether perceived control or perceived difficulty is more important for predicting behavioural intentions and behaviours. Taken together, the findings support the distinction between perceived control and perceived difficulty, and also suggest that perceived difficulty is a better predictor of most behavioural intentions and behaviours than is perceived control.
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OBJECTIVES: To explore the structure of causal beliefs about heart attack, using network analysis, in particular to determine whether there is a consensual representation and, if so, which putative causes of heart attacks were perceived as being proximal or distal causes and which were perceived to mediate the effects of other causes. METHODS: A total of 107 adult respondents completed questionnaires, indicating the extent to which they perceived each of eight agents as causes of a heart attack, as well as whether they perceived that each of these eight causal agents, in turn, causally affects each of the other seven causal agents. RESULTS: A consensual representation was produced, indicating how these eight agents were perceived as causally relating to each other, and to heart attack. Three key features were evident. First, the type of work a person does was perceived to be a distal cause of heart attack, operating mainly through stress and high blood pressure. Second, the causal impact of stress on heart attack was not seen as mediated by behaviour, but mediated via blood pressure. Third, the causal impact of genes on heart attack was perceived as unmediated by behaviour or physiological processes. CONCLUSIONS: The general public appears to share a reasonably complex view of how different agents lead to heart attack. This complexity would not be elicited by standard methods, suggesting that the network analysis method may be usefully employed as either a process or an outcome measure in health-promotion research.
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The Integrated Change Model (the I-Change Model) was used to analyse the general public's need and perceptions concerning receiving information on the role of hereditary factors with regard to cancer. The results from a study in 457 Dutch adults showed that 25% correctly indicated the types of cancer where hereditary factors can play a role. Respondents, however, overestimated the role of hereditary factors causing breast cancer. Recognition of warning signs was low, as was the recognition of inheritance patterns. Participants wanted to know the types of cancer with hereditary aspects, how to recognise hereditary cancer in the family, personal risks and the steps to be taken when hereditary predisposition is suspected. The most popular information channels mentioned were leaflets, the general practitioner, and the Internet. Respondents interested in receiving information on heredity and cancer were more often female, had had experiences with hereditary diseases, had more knowledge, perceived more advantages, encountered more social support in seeking information, and had higher levels of self-efficacy. Education should outline the most important facts about hereditary cancer, how to get support, and create realistic expectations of the impact of genetic factors.
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Parenting is generally regarded a determinant of adolescent behavior, whereas the reverse is seldom considered. Reported effects of anti-smoking parenting practices on adolescent smoking are inconsistent. Cross-sectional results may have been misinterpreted and child effects have been overlooked. The main goal of this study was to explain previous inconsistent effects of anti-smoking parenting practices, by examining bi-directional relations between parenting and adolescent smoking. Bi-directional relations were studied using a cross-lagged model where anti-smoking house rules, communication about smoking, and adolescent smoking were assessed at three subsequent years. The most prominent finding was that adolescent smoking behavior was a stronger predictor of parenting than vice versa. Anti-smoking house rules decreased as a result of adolescent smoking behavior, while communication increased. The reduction in house rules was more pronounced if parents smoked, while the increase in communication was greater for non-smoking parents. Results were independent of adolescent sex. Further research is needed to establish which aspects of parenting can be effective in deterring adolescent smoking. This study emphasizes the need for caution in interpreting cross-sectional research findings relating parenting to adolescent smoking.
The I-Change Model and how it contributes to explaining health behaviour
  • S G Quiñonez
  • H De Vries
  • S Eggers
  • L Van Osch
  • N Stanczyk
Quiñonez, S. G., De Vries, H., Eggers, S., van Osch, L., & Stanczyk, N. (2016). The I-Change Model and how it contributes to explaining health behaviour. European Health Psychologist, 18(S), 390.  Sniehotta, F. F. (2009). Towards a theory of intentional behaviour change: Plans, planning, and self-regulation. British Journal of Health Psychology, 14(2), 261-273.
The moderating role of implicit attitudes on intention and physical activity behaviour
  • C Muschalik
Pragmatic nihilism: how a Theory of Nothing can help health psychology progress. Health Psychology Review. Advance online publication
  • G J Y Peters
  • R Crutzen
Pragmatic Nihilism: How a Theory of Nothing can Help Health Psychology Progress. Health psychology review
  • C Muschalik
  • G.-J Y Peters
  • R Crutzen
Muschalik, C. (2016). The moderating role of implicit attitudes on intention and physical activity behaviour. European Health Psychologist, 18(S), 404.  Peters, G.-J. Y., & Crutzen, R. (2017). Pragmatic Nihilism: How a Theory of Nothing can Help Health Psychology Progress. Health psychology review(just-accepted), 1-39.
Evidence that perceived behavioural control is a multidimensional construct: Perceived control and perceived difficulty
  • S G Quiñonez
  • H De Vries
  • S Eggers
  • L Van Osch
  • N Stanczyk
  • D Trafimow
  • P Sheeran
  • M Conner
  • K A Finlay
 Quiñonez, S. G., De Vries, H., Eggers, S., van Osch, L., & Stanczyk, N. (2016). The I-Change Model and how it contributes to explaining health behaviour. European Health Psychologist, 18(S), 390.  Sniehotta, F. F. (2009). Towards a theory of intentional behaviour change: Plans, planning, and self-regulation. British Journal of Health Psychology, 14(2), 261-273.  Trafimow, D., Sheeran, P., Conner, M., & Finlay, K. A. (2002). Evidence that perceived behavioural control is a multidimensional construct: Perceived control and perceived difficulty. British Journal of Social Psychology, 41(1), 101-121.