Health and Well-BeingApplied Psychology: Health and Well-Being
© International Association of Applied Psychology
Background: Most theories of health‐behavior change focus exclusively on individual self‐regulation without taking social factors, such as social support, into account. This study's first aim was to systematically test the added value of received instrumental and emotional social support within the Health Action Process Approach (HAPA) in the context of dietary change. In the social support literature, gender effects emerge with regard to the effectiveness of social support. Thus, a second aim was the examination of gender differences in the association of social support with dietary behavior. Methods: Participants were 252 overweight and obese individuals. At baseline and 12 months later, participants completed questionnaires on HAPA variables; diet‐specific received social support and low‐fat diet. Results: For the prediction of intentions 12 months later, instrumental support was more beneficial for men than for women over and above individual self‐regulation. In terms of dietary behavior at T2, a moderate main effect of instrumental support emerged. Moreover, received emotional social support was beneficial for men, but not for women in terms of a low‐fat diet 12 months later. Conclusions: Effects of received instrumental social support found in this study provide new evidence for the added value of integrating social support into the HAPA.
Background: This investigation focuses on what occurs to individuals' self‐regulatory resource during controlled Interpersonal Affect Regulation (IAR) which is the process of deliberately influencing the internal feeling states of others. Combining the strength model of self‐regulation and the resources conservation model, the investigation tested whether: (1) IAR behaviors are positively related to ego‐depletion because goal‐directed behaviors demand self‐regulatory processes, and (2) the use of affect‐improving strategies benefits from a source of resource‐recovery because it initiates positive feedback from targets, as proposed from a resource‐conservation perspective. Method: To test this, a lab study based on an experimental dual‐task paradigm using a sample of pairs of friends in the UK and a longitudinal field study of a sample of healthcare workers in Spain were conducted. Results: The experimental study showed a depleting effect of interpersonal affect‐improving IAR on a subsequent self‐regulation task. The field study showed that while interpersonal affect‐worsening was positively associated with depletion, as indicated by the level of emotional exhaustion, interpersonal affect‐improving was only associated with depletion after controlling for the effect of positive feedback from clients. Conclusion: The findings indicate that IAR does have implications for resource depletion, but that social reactions play a role in the outcome.
In order to answer the question whether changes in students' self‐efficacy levels co‐vary with similar changes in engagement and performance, a field study and an experimental study were conducted among university students. In order to do this, we adopted a subgroup approach. We created “natural” (Study 1) and manipulated (Study 2) subgroups based upon their change in self‐efficacy over time and examined whether these subgroups showed similar changes over time in engagement and performance. The results of both studies are partly in line with Social Cognitive Theory, in that they confirm that changes in self‐efficacy may have a significant impact on students' changes in cognition and motivation (i.e. engagement), as well as behavior (i.e. performance). More specifically, our results show that students' increases/decreases in self‐efficacy were related to corresponding increases/decreases in their study engagement and task performance over time. Examining the consequences of changes in students' self‐efficacy levels seems promising, both for research and practice.
Background The Effects of Aerobic Exercise Training (AET) on self‐reported Quality of Life (QoL) in people with hypertension have been previously documented. However, data on black populations, especially from Africa, seem not to be available. This study investigated the effects of AET on QoL and exercise capacity in Nigerians on treatment for essential hypertension. Method This randomised‐controlled trial involved newly diagnosed individuals, with mild‐to‐moderate essential hypertension randomly assigned to antihypertensive drugs (ADs) alone (control: n = 60) and AET+ADs (exercise: n = 60) groups. The study lasted for 12 weeks. QoL was measured using the World Health Organization QoL Short Form (WHOQoL‐BREF) and exercise capacity was assessed using the Rockport Fitness Walk Test pre‐ and post‐study. Results Physical health, psychological health, and social relationships domains of QoL improved significantly in the exercise and control groups post‐intervention. The environment domain of QoL and exercise capacity improved significantly in only the exercise group. There were larger improvements in the physical health, psychological health, and environment domains of QoL, and exercise capacity in the exercise group. Conclusion Aerobic exercise improves QoL and exercise capacity in individuals with essential hypertension.
In light of recent interest in societal subjective well‐being, policies that seek to improve the economy and labor markets need to address the question of whether economic factors matter for worker well‐being, specifically job satisfaction. In a worldwide representative poll of 136 nations, economic factors are associated with job satisfaction beyond demographic and job factors. Hierarchical linear modeling showed that higher national GDP and job optimism was associated with job satisfaction, whereas higher unemployment was associated with job dissatisfaction. Mediational analyses revealed that economic variables (GDP and job optimism) were partially mediated by job satisfaction in predicting life satisfaction; full mediation was found for unemployment. In a second study, time series regression of monthly data from a nationally representative poll in the United States from 2008 to 2011 revealed that unemployment rate was significantly associated with job dissatisfaction over time. There was some evidence that prior unemployment rates predicted job satisfaction at a higher level than job satisfaction predicted unemployment rates, suggesting that economic factors lead to job (dis)satisfaction rather than the converse. Theoretical and practical implications are discussed.
Background: We investigated how matching and non‐matching demands and resources are related to emotional exhaustion (EE) in teachers. Theoretically, we draw on the Demand‐Induced Strain Compensation (DISC) model that proposes that demands, resources, and strains are multidimensional and comprise emotional, cognitive, and physical components. We first tested whether resources compensate aversive effects of demands. Second, as proposed by the triple‐match principle, we tested whether interaction effects between job demands and resources are most likely if demands, resources, and outcomes relate to the same dimension. Methods: We retrieved data from 177 school teachers; a subsample was re‐examined after a time lag of about 21 month (N = 56). Results: Linear regression analyses reveal concurrent and longitudinal main and interaction effects of teacher‐specific emotional and cognitive job demands and resources on EE. Conclusion: Results support the compensation principle and triple‐match principle. Therefore, the DISC model seems to provide a valuable framework for the study of interaction effects in job stress research and, in particular, for interventions to reduce job strain in teachers.
Background: A one‐week intervention (Intentional Growth Training; IGT) to increase personal growth initiative (PGI) was created and tested in a series of studies to determine its effect on PGI level. Because PGI predicts psychological well‐being and depression, IGT has potential to have considerable benefit on a person's mental health. Methods: Study 1 was the initial assessment of whether IGT increased PGI greater than various control conditions. Study 2 employed an enhanced version of IGT and utilised the singular components of IGT determining which components were most impactful at increasing PGI. Study 3 was a narrative analysis of writing samples from Study 2 determining whether participant language varied by condition in use of negative or positive emotion, or personal growth‐related words. Results: In Study 1, PGI increased significantly across conditions. In Study 2, the growth activity only condition, and PGI education coupled with the growth activity, produced significant increases in PGI. In Study 3, those receiving only PGI education used more growth‐related words than control conditions. Conclusion: The most effective IGT format appears to include both education about PGI and a growth activity. The benefits of utilising IGT are discussed.
This paper reviews the history of the transition from the belief that gastrointestinal ulcers are caused primarily by psychological factors to the current state of belief that they are caused primarily by infection and argues that neither is fully accurate. We argue that psychological factors play a significant role as predisposing to vulnerability, modulating of precipitation, and sustaining of gastric ulceration. We review data that challenge the assumption of a simple infectious disease model and adduce recent preclinical data that confirm the predisposing, modulatory, and sustaining roles for psychological factors. We note that others, too, are now challenging the adequacy of the contemporary simple bacterial infection model. We hope to replace the competition between psychology and medicine with cooperation in understanding and treating patients suffering gastric ulceration and ulcer.
The primary goal of this paper is to summarise current evidence on social relations and health, specifically how social integration and social support are related to health behaviors and health outcomes, using results from published reviews. Our analysis revealed that social relations are beneficial for health behaviors such as chronic illness self‐management and decreased suicidal tendency. The salutary effects of general measures of social relations (e.g. being validated, being cared for, etc.) on health behaviors (e.g. healthy diet, physical activity, smoking, alcohol abuse) are weaker, but specific measures of social relations targeting corresponding health behaviors are more predictive. There is growing evidence that social relations are predictive of mortality and cardiovascular disease, and social relations play an equally protective role against both the incidence and progression of cardiovascular disease. On the other hand, evidence was mixed for the association between social relations and cancer. We discuss these findings and potential areas for future research such as other dimensions of social relations, support–receiver interactions, and observer ratings of social relations.
We examined the effects of burnout and vigor on the incidence of hyperlipidemia. Based on the bivariate theoretical approach to negative and positive affects and on past studies on the prediction of blood lipids by burnout and vigor, we expected increases from Time 1 (T1) to Time 2 (T2) in burnout levels to be associated with an increase in the risk for hyperlipidemia and T1–T2 increases in vigor levels to be associated with a decrease in the risk of hyperlipidemia. Our sample consisted of 3,337 healthy employees (2,214 men and 1,123 women) who were followed up for about 27 months on average. Burnout and vigor were assessed by well‐validated multiple‐item instruments. We used logistic regressions and controlled for variables associated with blood lipids as well as with vigor and burnout. We cross‐validated all self‐reported hyperlipidemia by their T2 lipids levels. As expected, we found that T1–T2 increases in vigor levels were associated with a decreased risk of hyperlipidemia. However, the T1–T2 change in burnout levels was marginally significant (p = .06) in predicting hyperlipidemia. We consider our finding that vigor and burnout are independently associated with the risk of hyperlipidemia as providing support for the bivariate approach to affective states. In addition, our major finding suggests a possible mechanism via which vigor influences physical health outcomes.
Background: Self‐efficacy is an important predictor of health behaviour change. Within the health action process approach (HAPA; Schwarzer, 2008), motivational and volitional self‐efficacy can be distinguished. Motivational self‐efficacy is assumed to serve as predictor of intention formation whereas volitional self‐efficacy should be relevant for behaviour change. This study examined these assumptions in a sample with overweight and obese individuals. Moreover, we tested whether behavioural intentions moderate the association between volitional self‐efficacy and behaviour. Methods: Overall, 373 overweight and obese individuals completed a baseline and six months later a follow‐up questionnaire on HAPA variables and dietary behaviour. Results: A factor analysis confirmed the phase‐specific separation of self‐efficacy. Motivational self‐efficacy emerged as predictor for behavioural intentions over and above other HAPA variables after six months, whereas volitional self‐efficacy did not. Volitional self‐efficacy interacted with intention in the prediction of behaviour, indicating that volitional self‐efficacy is only beneficial for individuals with high levels of intentions. Conclusions: The results provide evidence for the phase‐specific distinction of self‐efficacy in the context of dietary change in an overweight or obese sample. Thus, differentiating between motivational and volitional self‐efficacy beliefs should be considered when developing future interventions of dietary change.
Background: Measurement of social cognitive variables is often restricted to long‐term and health‐related outcomes. A more comprehensive measurement of cognitive determinants would enable evidence‐based design of health behavior interventions with a focus on the most relevant targets. The purpose of this study was to examine the relative impact of different social cognitive determinants on fruit and vegetable (FV) and fast food consumption. Methods: Finnish male conscripts (N = 855, age M = 20) filled in questionnaires on social cognitive factors when entering the military service, and on food consumption frequency after two months. The data were analysed using structural equation modeling. Results: Physical well‐being expectation and bad taste expectation were most strongly related to both FV and fat avoidance intentions. Perceived weight gain risk predicted fat avoidance intention, whereas perceived risk for other health problems predicted FV intention. Social self‐efficacy was associated with FV intention only. Consumption of both FV and fast food was predicted by action planning and intention. Conclusions: A more careful evaluation of subtypes of social cognitions sheds light on the specific content behind motivation. Such understanding might help in designing more effective intervention messages.
When people intend and plan to perform higher levels of physical activity, they do not start on impulse without preparing. Thus, preparation is a behavioral construct positioned between planning and target behavior. This may be reflected by the acquisition of sports equipment as well as monitoring devices such as pedometers. The research questions are who takes such preparatory action, whether picking up a complimentary pedometer can be predicted by self‐efficacy and outcome expectancies, and whether this kind of preparatory action facilitates subsequent physical activity. A longitudinal physical activity survey was conducted with 143 university students who were offered a complimentary pedometer. Collecting this free gift served as indicator of preparatory behavior. Outcome expectancies and self‐efficacy beliefs were specified as predictors of this behavior. Two weeks later, physical activity differences between the groups were determined. Collecting the pedometer was associated with higher levels of physical activity at follow‐up. Outcome expectancies failed to predict the pedometer collection, but self‐efficacy did. An interaction between these two factors indicated that self‐efficacy compensated for low outcome expectancies. Pedometer acquisition signifies a preparatory action that is facilitated by self‐efficacy. Positioned between planning and target behavior, they constitute a proximal self‐regulatory step towards health behavior change.