Health and Well-BeingApplied Psychology: Health and Well-Being
© International Association of Applied Psychology
Background: Dieters often show weight cycling, i.e. prior successful weight loss is followed by weight gain. The current study examined how goal progress during a diet (i.e. weight loss) impacts subsequent weight loss depending on whether success is identified on the process level or the outcome level of dieting. Methods: A short‐term longitudinal study examined lagged effects of weight loss and identifications of success in one week on weight loss in the subsequent week. Across 6 weeks, N = 126 overweight women reported their weekly weight and the degree to which they considered themselves as successful regarding the process of dieting (e.g. changing eating behavior) and the desired dieting outcomes (e.g. improving appearance). Results: Successful weight loss in one week negatively affected weight loss in the subsequent week. However, identifying success on the process level reduced this negative effect. Discussion: Although people might feel generally that goal progress licenses subsequent goal‐inconsistent behavior, identifying successful goal‐pursuit on the process rather than the outcome level of a goal may counteract the subsequent loss of dieting motivation.
Both nature and daylight have been found to positively influence health. These findings were, however, found in two separate research domains. This paper presents an overview of effects found for daylight and nature on health and the health‐related concepts stress, mood, and executive functioning and self‐regulation. Because of the overlap in effects found and the co‐occurrence of both phenomena, the paper points to the need to consider daylight factors when investigating effects of nature and vice versa. Furthermore, the existence of possibly shared underlying mechanisms is discussed and the need to unify the research paradigms and dependent variables used between the two research fields. Last, in view of the beneficial effects of both phenomena on health, our objective is to raise awareness amongst the general public, designers, and health practitioners to use these naturally available phenomena to their full potential.
Background: Habit formation is thought to lead to long‐term maintenance of fruit and vegetable consumption. Habits develop through context‐dependent repetition, but additional variables such as intrinsic reward of behaviour may influence habit strength. Drawing upon the Associative‐Cybernetic Model, this exploratory study tested different pathways by which intrinsic reward may influence fruit and vegetable consumption habit strength. Methods: In a three‐wave study of fruit and vegetable intake in adults (N = 127) from the general population, intrinsic reward, intention, and self‐efficacy were assessed at baseline, fruit and vegetable consumption and intrinsic reward two weeks later, and habit strength another two weeks later. Direct, indirect, and moderation effects of intrinsic reward on habit strength were tested simultaneously in a moderated mediation model. Results: Intrinsic reward had a positive indirect effect on habit strength through its influence on the frequency of fruit and vegetable consumption. Further, the relationship between fruit and vegetable consumption and habit was stronger where consumption was considered more intrinsically rewarding. Conclusions: Findings highlight the potential relevance of intrinsic reward to habit. We suggest that intrinsic rewards from behaviour may not only facilitate habit via behaviour frequency, but also reinforce the relationship between behavioural repetition and habit strength.
Two hundred million people worldwide are at risk of developing dental and skeletal fluorosis due to excessive fluoride uptake from their water. Since medical treatment of the disease is difficult and mostly ineffective, preventing fluoride uptake is crucial. In the Ethiopian Rift Valley, a fluoride‐removal community filter was installed. Despite having access to a fluoride filter, the community used the filter sparingly. During a baseline assessment, 173 face‐to‐face interviews were conducted to identify psychological factors that influence fluoride‐free water consumption. Based on the results, two behavior‐change campaigns were implemented: a traditional information intervention targeting perceived vulnerability, and an evidence‐based persuasion intervention regarding perceived costs. The interventions were tailored to household characteristics. The campaigns were evaluated with a survey and analyzed in terms of their effectiveness in changing behavior and targeted psychological factors. While the intervention targeting perceived vulnerability showed no desirable effects, cost persuasion decreased the perceived costs and increased the consumption of fluoride‐free water. This showed that altering subjective perceptions can change behavior even without changing objective circumstances. Moreover, interventions are more effective if they are based on evidence and tailored to specific households.
The purpose of this paper is to provide an overview of the literature on two planning intervention techniques in health behaviour research, implementation intentions and action planning, and to develop evidence‐based recommendations for effective future interventions and highlight priority areas for future research. We focused our review on four key areas: (1) definition and conceptualisation; (2) format and measurement; (3) mechanisms and processes; and (4) design issues. Overall, evidence supports the effectiveness of planning interventions in health behaviour with advantages including low cost and response burden. There is, however, considerable heterogeneity in the effects across studies and relatively few registered randomised trials that include objective behavioural measures. Optimally effective planning interventions should adopt “if–then” plans, account for salient and relevant cues, include examples of cues, be guided rather than user‐defined, and include boosters. Future studies should adopt randomised controlled designs, report study protocols, include fidelity checks and relevant comparison groups, and adopt long‐term behavioural follow‐up measures. Priority areas for future research include the identification of the moderators and mediators of planning intervention effects. Future research also needs to adopt “best practice” components of planning interventions more consistently to elucidate the mechanisms and processes involved.
Background: There is evidence that Black patients may experience stereotype threat—apprehension about being negatively stereotyped—in healthcare settings, which might adversely affect their behavior in clinical encounters. Recent studies conducted outside of healthcare have shown that a brief self‐affirmation intervention, in which individuals are asked to focus on and affirm their valued characteristics and sources of personal pride, can reduce the negative effects of stereotype threat on academic performance and on interpersonal communication. Methods: This randomised controlled trial examined whether a self‐affirmation (SA) intervention would decrease the negative effects of stereotype threat (negative mood, lower state self‐esteem, greater perceptions of racial discrimination) and increase communication self‐efficacy among Black primary care patients. Self‐affirmation was induced by having patients complete a 32‐item values affirmation questionnaire. Results: Patients in the SA condition had lower levels of performance self‐esteem and social self‐esteem than patients in the control. There were no differences between the SA and the control groups on negative mood, communication self‐efficacy, and perceptions of discrimination. Conclusions: Our SA intervention lowered state self‐esteem among Black patients. Future research is needed to determine the type of SA task that is most effective for this population.
Background: Using the self‐determination theory (SDT) framework, we examined how significant others might support or thwart psychological needs of people with weight management goals, and in turn might affect their psychological well‐being and weight control behaviors. Design: Longitudinal design with three sets of questionnaires administered over a 6‐month period. Methods: One hundred and fifty‐six eligible participants (age = 31.01 ± 13.21 years) were asked to complete questionnaires of SDT‐based constructs, weight management behaviors, and psychological well‐being. Hypotheses were tested using Bayesian path analysis. Results: Perceived autonomy support from significant others was related to psychological need satisfaction, while controlling behaviors by others were associated with need thwarting. In turn, need satisfaction was associated with some beneficial outcomes such as life satisfaction, and need thwarting was related to some maladaptive outcomes such as higher levels of depressive symptoms and increases in unhealthy diet behaviors. Conclusions: Our findings indicate that the quality of interactions between individuals engaged in weight management and their significant others matters in terms of predicting the psychological needs and well‐being of the former.
Background: Previous research has focused on the positive consequences of flow, an intrinsically rewarding state of deep absorption. In contrast, the present research links flow to impaired risk awareness and to risky behaviour. We expected flow to enhance self‐efficacy beliefs, which in turn were hypothesised to result in low risk awareness and risky behaviour in sports. In addition, we predicted that individuals' level of experience in the activity would moderate the expected effects. Methods: One study with kayakers (Study 1) and two studies with rock climbers (Studies 2 and 3) were conducted. Kayakers completed a survey while still on the river; climbers responded during and upon completion of a climb. Results: In all studies flow was related to risk awareness. Study 2 additionally showed its association with risky behaviour. Studies 2 and 3 revealed that these relationships were mediated by self‐efficacy. The mediations were moderated by level of experience (Study 3). Conclusions: The results indicated that inexperienced but not experienced participants respond to self‐efficacy beliefs evoked by flow with impaired risk awareness and with risky behaviour. Theoretical implications for flow and risk research as well as practical implications for risk prevention are discussed.
Background: Although alcohol consumption is a leading risk factor for major illnesses, warning labels are still not being used. Alcohol consumption is related to positive and negative outcome expectancies, which both play a crucial role. This study compared the effectiveness of warning labels that contradicted positive outcome expectancies with health‐related warning labels among a college‐aged German sample (N = 40). Method: Half of the participants received health‐related warning labels while half received positive‐related warning labels. Implicit attitudes were assessed before and after warning‐label exposure. Explicit attitudes and outcome expectancies were assessed after exposure. Participants’ usual drinking behavior was assessed before exposure to warning labels, and their drinking intentions were measured afterwards. Results: Participants exposed to positive‐related warning labels had marginally more negative implicit attitudes compared to their own prior attitudes. They tended to perceive lower social and higher negative outcome expectancies than the health‐related warning labels group. Importantly, the positive‐related warning labels group's drinking intentions tended to be lower than those of the health‐related warning labels group. Conclusions: This first test of warning labels that contradict positive alcohol outcome expectancies provided promising results; thus warning labels could be considered as means to influence college‐aged people.
The present study investigates the interaction of exercise and sleep on state‐like personal resources in employees' daily lives. Further, the study examines the association between state‐like personal resources and emotional exhaustion. We conducted a diary study over five consecutive working days (total of 443 days) with 144 employees who answered daily online surveys after work and before bedtime. Multilevel modeling showed that exercise after work was positively related to the next day's personal resources when sleep duration during the night time was longer compared to other nights. Furthermore, personal resources positively related to lower emotional exhaustion after work on the next day. This study demonstrates that exercise and sleep may help to renew personal resources. Results stress the importance of balancing exercise and sleep in daily life.
Objective: The role of psychological need satisfaction in terms of understanding the mechanisms through which leisure‐time physical activity (LTPA) is associated with psychological health in breast cancer survivors who have recently completed treatment was examined. Methods: Adopting a longitudinal two‐wave design, female breast cancer survivors (N = 144) completed self‐report instruments of LTPA, psychological need satisfaction, and psychological health at two points separated by 3 months. The first test administration period was 6 months following the completion of primary treatment. Results: Change score analyses demonstrated that greater LTPA across the 3‐month period was associated with greater perceptions of well‐being (rs ranged from .17 to .20) and lower ill‐being (rs ranged from −.06 to −.21). Results of multiple mediation analyses demonstrated that psychological need fulfillment underpinned the LTPA–well‐being relationship only. Conclusions: Collectively these findings indicate that increased engagement in LTPA represents one factor associated with greater psychological health in breast cancer survivors, with fulfilling the psychological need for relatedness most salient in understanding this relationship. Continued investigation into the mechanisms associated with reductions in ill‐being in breast cancer survivors appear justified.