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1.  Action planning as predictor of health protective and health risk behavior: an investigation of fruit and snack consumption 
Large discrepancies between people's intention to eat a healthy diet and actual dietary behavior indicate that motivation is not a sufficient instigator for healthy behavior. Research efforts to decrease this 'intention - behavior gap' have centered on aspects of self-regulation, most importantly self-regulatory planning. Most studies on the impact of self-regulatory planning in health and dietary behavior focus on the promotion of health protective behaviors. This study investigates and compares the predictive value of action planning in health protective behavior and the restriction of health risk behavior.
Two longitudinal observational studies were performed simultaneously, one focusing on fruit consumption (N = 572) and one on high-caloric snack consumption (N = 585) in Dutch adults. Structural equation modeling was used to investigate and compare the predictive value of action planning in both behaviors, correcting for demographics and the influence of motivational factors and past behavior. The nature of the influence of action planning was investigated by testing mediating and moderating effects.
Action planning was a significant predictor of fruit consumption and restricted snack consumption beyond the influence of motivational factors and past behavior. The strength of the predictive value of action planning did not differ between the two behaviors. Evidence for mediation of the intention - behavior relationship was found for both behaviors. Positive moderating effects of action planning were demonstrated for fruit consumption, indicating that individuals who report high levels of action planning are significantly more likely to translate their intentions into actual behavior.
The results indicate that the planning of specific preparatory actions predicts the performance of healthy dietary behavior and support the application of self-regulatory planning in both health protective and health risk behaviors. Future interventions in dietary modification may turn these findings to advantage by incorporating one common planning protocol to increase the likelihood that good intentions are translated into healthy dietary behavior.
PMCID: PMC2770554  PMID: 19825172
2.  Psychosocial predictors of eating habits among adults in their mid-30s: The Oslo Youth Study follow-up 1991–1999 
The predictive value of the psychosocial constructs of Theory of Planned Behaviour (TPB) on subsequent dietary habits has not been previously investigated in a multivariate approach that includes demographic factors and past dietary behaviour among adults. The aim of this study was to investigate to what extent TPB constructs, including intention, attitudes, subjective norms, perceived behavioural control, and perceived social norms, measured at age 25 predicted four eating behaviours (intake of fruits and vegetables, whole grains, total fat and added sugar) eight years later.
Two hundred and forty men and 279 women that participated in the Oslo Youth Study were followed from 1991 to 1999 (mean age 25 and 33 years, respectively). Questionnaires at baseline (1991) included the constructs of the TPB and dietary habits, and at follow-up (1999) questionnaires included demographic factors and diet. For the assessment of diet, a food frequency questionnaire (FFQ) with a few food items was used at baseline while an extensive semi-quantitative FFQ was used at follow-up.
Among men, attitudes, subjective norms and previous eating behaviour were significant predictors of fruit and vegetable intake, while education and past eating behaviour were predictive of whole grain intake in multivariate analyses predicting dietary intake at follow-up. For women, perceived behavioural control, perceived social norms and past behaviour were predictive of fruit and vegetable intake, while subjective norms, education and past eating behaviour were predictive of whole grain intake. For total fat intake, intention was predictive for men and perceived behavioural control for women. Household income and past consumption of sugar-rich foods were significant predictors of added sugar intake among men, while past intake of sugar-rich foods was a significant predictor of added sugar intake among women.
After adjusting for potential confounding factors, all psychosocial factors assessed among young adults appeared predictive of one or more eating behaviours reported eight years later. Results point to the influence of psychosocial factors on future eating behaviours and the potential for interventions targeting such factors.
PMCID: PMC1208934  PMID: 16076386
3.  Moderators of the intention-behaviour and perceived behavioural control-behaviour relationships for leisure-time physical activity 
Intention is a key determinant of action. However, there is a gap between intention and behavioural performance that remains to be explained. Therefore, the aim of this study was to identify moderators of the intention-behaviour and perceived behavioural control (PBC)- behaviour relationships for leisure-time physical activity.
This was tested in reference to Ajzen's Theory of Planned Behaviour. A sample of 300 volunteers, 192 women and 108 men, aged 18 to 55, participated in the study. At baseline, the participants completed a self-administrated psychosocial questionnaire assessing Ajzen's theory variables (i.e., intention and perceived behavioural control). The behavioural measure was obtained by mail three months later.
Multiple hierarchical regression analyses indicated that age and annual income moderated the intention-behaviour and PBC-behaviour relationships. However, in the final model predicting behaviour (R2 = .46), only the interaction term of PBC by annual income (β = .24, p = 0.0003) significantly contributed to the prediction of behaviour along with intention (β = .49, p = 0.0009) and past behaviour (β = .44, p < 0.0001).
Physical activity promotion programs would benefit not only from focusing on increasing the intention of low intenders, but also from targeting factors that moderate the perceived behavioural control-behaviour relationships.
PMCID: PMC2275296  PMID: 18241339
4.  Predicting active school travel: The role of planned behavior and habit strength 
Despite strong support for predictive validity of the theory of planned behavior (TPB) substantial variance in both intention and behavior is unaccounted for by the model’s predictors. The present study tested the extent to which habit strength augments the predictive validity of the TPB in relation to a currently under-researched behavior that has important health implications, namely children’s active school travel.
Participants (N = 126 children aged 8–9 years; 59 % males) were sampled from five elementary schools in the west of Scotland and completed questionnaire measures of all TPB constructs in relation to walking to school and both walking and car/bus use habit. Over the subsequent week, commuting steps on school journeys were measured objectively using an accelerometer. Hierarchical multiple regressions were used to test the predictive utility of the TPB and habit strength in relation to both intention and subsequent behavior.
The TPB accounted for 41 % and 10 % of the variance in intention and objectively measured behavior, respectively. Together, walking habit and car/bus habit significantly increased the proportion of explained variance in both intention and behavior by 6 %. Perceived behavioral control and both walking and car/bus habit independently predicted intention. Intention and car/bus habit independently predicted behavior.
The TPB significantly predicts children’s active school travel. However, habit strength augments the predictive validity of the model. The results indicate that school travel is controlled by both intentional and habitual processes. In practice, interventions could usefully decrease the habitual use of motorized transport for travel to school and increase children’s intention to walk (via increases in perceived behavioral control and walking habit, and decreases in car/bus habit). Further research is needed to identify effective strategies for changing these antecedents of children’s active school travel.
PMCID: PMC3419676  PMID: 22647194
Theory of planned behavior; Habit; Active school travel; Walking; Children
5.  Applying psychological theories to evidence-based clinical practice: identifying factors predictive of placing preventive fissure sealants 
Psychological models are used to understand and predict behaviour in a wide range of settings, but have not been consistently applied to health professional behaviours, and the contribution of differing theories is not clear. This study explored the usefulness of a range of models to predict an evidence-based behaviour -- the placing of fissure sealants.
Measures were collected by postal questionnaire from a random sample of general dental practitioners (GDPs) in Scotland. Outcomes were behavioural simulation (scenario decision-making), and behavioural intention. Predictor variables were from the Theory of Planned Behaviour (TPB), Social Cognitive Theory (SCT), Common Sense Self-regulation Model (CS-SRM), Operant Learning Theory (OLT), Implementation Intention (II), Stage Model, and knowledge (a non-theoretical construct). Multiple regression analysis was used to examine the predictive value of each theoretical model individually. Significant constructs from all theories were then entered into a 'cross theory' stepwise regression analysis to investigate their combined predictive value
Behavioural simulation - theory level variance explained was: TPB 31%; SCT 29%; II 7%; OLT 30%. Neither CS-SRM nor stage explained significant variance. In the cross theory analysis, habit (OLT), timeline acute (CS-SRM), and outcome expectancy (SCT) entered the equation, together explaining 38% of the variance. Behavioural intention - theory level variance explained was: TPB 30%; SCT 24%; OLT 58%, CS-SRM 27%. GDPs in the action stage had significantly higher intention to place fissure sealants. In the cross theory analysis, habit (OLT) and attitude (TPB) entered the equation, together explaining 68% of the variance in intention.
The study provides evidence that psychological models can be useful in understanding and predicting clinical behaviour. Taking a theory-based approach enables the creation of a replicable methodology for identifying factors that may predict clinical behaviour and so provide possible targets for knowledge translation interventions. Results suggest that more evidence-based behaviour may be achieved by influencing beliefs about the positive outcomes of placing fissure sealants and building a habit of placing them as part of patient management. However a number of conceptual and methodological challenges remain.
PMCID: PMC2864198  PMID: 20377849
6.  Normative influences on intentions to smoke among Greek adolescents: the moderating role of smoking status 
Tobacco Induced Diseases  2014;12(1):5.
Social norms influence adolescent smoking intentions, but this effect may differentiate depending on current smoking experiences. The presented study assessed the moderation effects of smoking status on the relationship between social norms and smoking intentions among Greek adolescents.
A cross-section survey-based design was used. Overall, 251 Greek secondary school students (M age = 16.1 years, 61.2% females) completed structured and anonymous questionnaires including demographic characteristics (age, gender), subjective and descriptive social norms towards smoking, self-reported tobacco use, and intentions to smoke in the next 12 months.
Linear regression analysis showed that social norms overall predicted 36.4% (Adjusted R2) of the variance in intentions. Perceived prevalence of smoking in same age peers and adults, having more close friends who smoke and perceived social approval of smoking predicted intentions to smoke in one year. Moderated regression analysis showed that the effects of social norms on smoking intentions were significantly moderated by smoking status.
Social norms predict smoking intentions, but this effect is stronger among ever (than never) smoker adolescents. Adolescents with smoking experiences may selectively attend to pro-smoking social cues and this perpetuates into their motivation to keep up the habit. School-based interventions should target normative beliefs and related cognitive processes, especially among adolescents who have already initiated tobacco use.
PMCID: PMC3973024  PMID: 24670201
Adolescents; Social norms; Smoking intentions
7.  Creatures of habit: accounting for the role of habit in implementation research on clinical behaviour change 
Social cognitive theories on behaviour change are increasingly being used to understand and predict healthcare professionals’ intentions and clinical behaviours. Although these theories offer important insights into how new behaviours are initiated, they provide an incomplete account of how changes in clinical practice occur by failing to consider the role of cue-contingent habits. This article contributes to better understanding of the role of habits in clinical practice and how improved effectiveness of behavioural strategies in implementation research might be achieved.
Habit is behaviour that has been repeated until it has become more or less automatic, enacted without purposeful thinking, largely without any sense of awareness. The process of forming habits occurs through a gradual shift in cognitive control from intentional to automatic processes. As behaviour is repeated in the same context, the control of behaviour gradually shifts from being internally guided (e.g., beliefs, attitudes, and intention) to being triggered by situational or contextual cues. Much clinical practice occurs in stable healthcare contexts and can be assumed to be habitual. Empirical findings in various fields suggest that behaviours that are repeated in constant contexts are difficult to change. Hence, interventions that focus on changing the context that maintains those habits have a greater probability of success. Some sort of contextual disturbance provides a window of opportunity in which a behaviour is more likely to be deliberately considered. Forming desired habits requires behaviour to be carried out repeatedly in the presence of the same contextual cues.
Social cognitive theories provide insight into how humans analytically process information and carefully plan actions, but their utility is more limited when it comes to explaining repeated behaviours that do not require such an ongoing contemplative decisional process. However, despite a growing interest in applying behavioural theory in interventions to change clinical practice, the potential importance of habit has not been explored in implementation research.
PMCID: PMC3464791  PMID: 22682656
Habits; Social cognitive theories; Clinical behaviour; Interventions
8.  How well do cognitive and environmental variables predict active commuting? 
In recent years, there has been growing interest in theoretical studies integrating cognitions and environmental variables in the prediction of behaviour related to the obesity epidemic. This is the approach adopted in the present study in reference to the theory of planned behaviour. More precisely, the aim of this study was to determine the contribution of cognitive and environmental variables in the prediction of active commuting to get to and from work or school.
A prospective study was carried out with 130 undergraduate and graduate students (93 females; 37 males). Environmental, cognitive and socio-demographic variables were evaluated at baseline by questionnaire. Two weeks later, active commuting (walking/bicycling) to get to and from work or school was self-reported by questionnaire. Hierarchical multiple regression analyses were performed to predict intention and behaviour.
The model predicting behaviour based on cognitive variables explained more variance than the model based on environmental variables (37.4% versus 26.8%; Z = 3.86, p < 0.001). Combining cognitive and environmental variables with socio-demographic variables to predict behaviour yielded a final model explaining 41.1% (p < 0.001) of the variance. The significant determinants were intention, habit and age. Concerning intention, the same procedure yielded a final model explaining 78.2% (p < 0.001) of the variance, with perceived behavioural control, attitude and habit being the significant determinants.
The results showed that cognitive variables play a more important role than environmental variables in predicting and explaining active commuting. When environmental variables were significant, they were mediated by cognitive variables. Therefore, individual cognitions should remain one of the main focuses of interventions promoting active commuting among undergraduate and graduate students.
PMCID: PMC2667470  PMID: 19267911
9.  Determinants of the intention of elementary school nurses to adopt a redefined role in health promotion at school 
The quest for greater efficiency in the provision of primary healthcare services and the implementation of a "health-promoting school" approach encourage the optimal redefinition of the role of school nurses. School nurses are viewed as professionals who might be significant actors in the promotion of youth health. The aim of this study was to identify the determinants of the intention of elementary school nurses to adopt a new health-promotion role as a strategic option for the health-promoting school.
This study was based on an extended version of the theory of planned behaviour (TPB). A total of 251 respondents (response rate of 70%) from 42 school health programs across the Province of Québec completed a mail survey regarding their intention to adopt the proposed health-promotion role. Multiple hierarchical linear regression analyses were performed to assess the relationship between key independent variables and intention. A discriminant analysis of the beliefs was performed to identify the main targets of action.
A total of 73% of respondents expressed a positive intention to accept to play the proposed role. The main predictors were perceived behavioural control (β = 0.36), moral norm (β = 0.27), attitude (β = 0.24), and subjective norm (β = 0.21) (ps < .0001), explaining 83% of the variance. The underlying beliefs distinguishing nurses who had a high intention from those who had a low intention referred to their feelings of being valued, their capacity to overcome the nursing shortage, the approval of the school nurses' community and parents of the students, their leadership skills, and their gaining of a better understanding of school needs.
Results suggest that leadership is a skill that should be addressed to increase the ability of school nurses to assume the proposed role. Findings also indicate that public health administrators need to ensure adequate nurse staffing in the schools in order to increase the proportion of nurses willing to play such a role and avoid burnout among these human resources.
PMCID: PMC3003233  PMID: 21110872
10.  Explaining the effects of an intervention designed to promote evidence-based diabetes care: a theory-based process evaluation of a pragmatic cluster randomised controlled trial 
The results of randomised controlled trials can be usefully illuminated by studies of the processes by which they achieve their effects. The Theory of Planned Behaviour (TPB) offers a framework for conducting such studies. This study used TPB to explore the observed effects in a pragmatic cluster randomised controlled trial of a structured recall and prompting intervention to increase evidence-based diabetes care that was conducted in three Primary Care Trusts in England.
All general practitioners and nurses in practices involved in the trial were sent a postal questionnaire at the end of the intervention period, based on the TPB (predictor variables: attitude; subjective norm; perceived behavioural control, or PBC). It focussed on three clinical behaviours recommended in diabetes care: measuring blood pressure; inspecting feet; and prescribing statins. Multivariate analyses of variance and multiple regression analyses were used to explore changes in cognitions and thereby better understand trial effects.
Fifty-nine general medical practitioners and 53 practice nurses (intervention: n = 55, 41.98% of trial participants; control: n = 57, 38.26% of trial participants) completed the questionnaire. There were no differences between groups in mean scores for attitudes, subjective norms, PBC or intentions. Control group clinicians had 'normatively-driven' intentions (i.e., related to subjective norm scores), whereas intervention group clinicians had 'attitudinally-driven' intentions (i.e., related to attitude scores) for foot inspection and statin prescription. After controlling for effects of the three predictor variables, this group difference was significant for foot inspection behaviour (trial group × attitude interaction, beta = 0.72, p < 0.05; trial group × subjective norm interaction, beta = -0.65, p < 0.05).
Attitudinally-driven intentions are proposed to be more consistently translated into action than normatively-driven intentions. This proposition was supported by the findings, thus offering an interpretation of the trial effects. This analytic approach demonstrates the potential of the TPB to explain trial effects in terms of different relationships between variables rather than differences in mean scores. This study illustrates the use of theory-based process evaluation to uncover processes underlying change in implementation trials.
PMCID: PMC2603022  PMID: 19019242
11.  Socio-demographic, medical and social-cognitive correlates of physical activity behavior among older adults (45–70 years): a cross-sectional study 
BMC Public Health  2014;14:647.
Present study aimed to identify socio-demographic, medical and social-cognitive correlates of physical activity among Dutch older individuals.
A systematic random sample of 2,568 Dutch participants aged 45–70 years filled out the validated modified Community Healthy Activities Model Program for Seniors (CHAMPS) questionnaire on physical activity. Socio-demographic and social-cognitive correlates were measured with validated instruments; medical correlates were checked by a general practitioner. The study had a cross-sectional design and the data collection ran from March 2005 until August 2006. Linear regression analyses were conducted to identify correlates of PA. We separated the findings for men from those for women to explore potential gender-specific associations.
Being female, living in North Limburg or North-Brabant, having a higher educational level, a higher perceived behavioral control, more knowledge about PA advantages, a stronger habitual PA behavior, having more action plans and a stronger intention to engage in PA were significantly associated with higher PA levels. Being older, being a smoker, having a higher body mass index (BMI), having a paid job, observing others being physically active and overestimating one's PA level were associated with being less physically active. Socio-demographic and medical correlates significantly explained 20% of the variance of PA behavior while social-cognitive correlates as attitude explained an additional 4% and intention together with actual control explained another 1% of the variance of PA behavior.
There may be stable individual differences that influence PA in view of the fact that several socio-demographic and medical factors were not completely mediated by the socio-cognitive factors. The current study may help to focus PA interventions for individuals aged 45–70 years on influential socio-demographic, medical and social-cognitive correlates. Physical activity was significantly associated with age, gender, education, BMI, work situation, region of residence, smoking, awareness, advantages, descriptive norm, perceived behavioral control, habit, action plans and intention.
PMCID: PMC4089561  PMID: 24965940
Physical activity; Prevention; Cardiovascular disease; Intervention; Public health
12.  Acceptance of virtual dental implant planning software in an undergraduate curriculum: a pilot study 
BMC Medical Education  2012;12:90.
Advances in healthcare such as virtual dental implant planning have the capacity to result in greater accuracy, speed, and efficiencies leading to improvement in patient care. It has been suggested that the acceptance of new technology is influenced by a variety of factors including individual differences, social and situational influences, user beliefs, and user attitudes. Despite the large volume of work in this area, only limited research has been conducted in the field of dental education. Therefore, the present study aimed at assessing the acceptance of virtual dental implant planning software by undergraduate students.
Forty-three third-year dental students of the University of Erlangen-Nuremberg, Germany, were included in the study. They filled in a questionnaire based on a combination of the technology acceptance model and the theory of planned behavior (C-TAM-TPB). Cronbach’s α, Pearson product moment correlation coefficients, and squared multiple correlations (R2) were calculated.
Cronbach’s α exceeded .7 for all constructs. Pearson correlations were significant for the pairs perceived usefulness/behavioral intention, perceived usefulness/attitude, and attitude/behavioral intention. Perceived ease of use explained .09% of the variance of perceived usefulness (R2 = .09). Perceived ease of use and perceived usefulness accounted for 31% of the variance of attitude (R2 = .31). Perceived usefulness, attitude, subjective norm, and perceived behavioral control explain 37% of the variance of behavioral intention (R2 = .37).
Virtual dental implant planning software seems to be accepted by dental students especially because of its usefulness and the students’ attitude towards this technology. On the other hand, perceived ease of use does not play a major role. As a consequence, the implementation of virtual dental implant planning software in a dental undergraduate curriculum should be supported by highlighting the usefulness by the supervisors, who should also strengthen the attitude of the students towards this technology.
PMCID: PMC3511246  PMID: 23020863
13.  Predictors of healthcare professionals' intention and behaviour to encourage physical activity in patients with cardiovascular risk factors 
BMC Public Health  2011;11:246.
Healthcare professionals can play a crucial role in optimizing the health status of patients with cardiovascular risk factors (abdominal obesity, high blood pressure, low HDL cholesterol, elevated triglycerides and elevated blood glucose). In order to do this, it is imperative that we understand the social-cognitive determinants (including habits) that underlie healthcare professionals' intention and the corresponding behavior of actually encouraging patients with cardiovascular risk factors to engage in physical activity.
In this longitudinal Professionals' Intention and Behavior (PIB) study, healthcare professionals (N = 278, aged 20-61 years with approximately 60% having attained an education level exceeding bachelor's degree, types of healthcare professionals 60% in physiotherapy and 40% in nursing) completed online surveys measuring the social-cognitive determinants of healthcare professionals' intention and the corresponding behavior of actually encouraging patients with cardiovascular risk factors to engage in physical activity.
Social-cognitive determinants accounted for 41% (p < .001) of the variance in healthcare professionals' intention to encourage physical activity among cardiovascular patients. Important correlates of intention were attitude (β = .443, p < .001), subjective norms (β = .201, p < .001) and perceived behavioral control (β = .137, p < .01). With respect to the self-reported behavior of encouraging patients, social-cognitive determinants accounted for 29% (p < .001) of the variance. Intentions (β = .311 p < .001), habit (β = .163 p < .01), and barriers (β = -.239 p < .001) were significant correlates of professionals' behavior of encouraging patients to engage in physical activity.
We explored the congruence between healthcare professionals' intention to encourage patients and the self-reported behavior of encouraging patients. We found that intention and behavior were congruent in 39.7% of the healthcare professionals. Additionally, the intention to encourage and the corresponding behavior of encouraging was incongruent in 31.7% of the healthcare professionals.
In the prevention of cardiovascular disease, healthcare professionals' intention to encourage physical activity among patients and subsequent behavior of encouraging patients is important for the improvement of patients' cardiovascular risk profiles. We found that the intentions and self-reported behavior of healthcare professionals working with patients with cardiovascular risk factors can be predicted by social-cognitive determinants thus implying that efforts to change and strengthen the intention-behavior relationship of healthcare professionals may have beneficial effects for cardiovascular risk patients (Trial ID: ECP-92).
PMCID: PMC3104375  PMID: 21504566
14.  Affective response to exercise as a component of exercise motivation: Attitudes, norms, self-efficacy, and temporal stability of intentions 
A positive affective response is associated with increased participation in voluntary exercise, but the mechanisms by which this occurs are not well known. Consistent with a Theory of Planned Behaviour perspective, we tested whether affective response to exercise leads to greater motivation in terms of attitudes, subjective norms, self-efficacy and intentions to exercise. We were also specifically interested in whether a positive affective response leads to more temporally stable intentions.
Participants (N = 127) self-reported Theory of Planned Behaviour constructs and exercise behavior at baseline and three months later, and provided reports of exercise-related affect during a 30-minute bout of moderate intensity treadmill exercise at baseline.
We show that participants who experience greater improvements in positive affect, negative affect and fatigue during exercise tended to report more positive attitudes, exercise self-efficacy and intentions to exercise three months later. Affective response was not predictive of subjective norms. As hypothesized, positive affective response was associated with more stable intentions over time.
We conclude that a positive affective response to acute bouts of exercise can aid in building and sustaining exercise motivation over time.
PMCID: PMC2782828  PMID: 20161385
exercise motivation; affective response; exercise mood states; temporal stability of intentions
15.  Understanding how adherence goals promote adherence behaviours: a repeated measure observational study with HIV seropositive patients 
BMC Public Health  2012;12:587.
The extent to which patients follow treatments as prescribed is pivotal to treatment success. An exceptionally high level (> 95%) of HIV medication adherence is required to suppress viral replication and protect the immune system and a similarly high level (> 80%) of adherence has also been suggested in order to benefit from prescribed exercise programmes. However, in clinical practice, adherence to both often falls below the desirable level. This project aims to investigate a wide range of psychological and personality factors that may lead to adherence/non-adherence to medical treatment and exercise programmes.
HIV positive patients who are referred to the physiotherapist-led 10-week exercise programme as part of the standard care are continuously recruited. Data on social cognitive variables (attitude, intention, subjective norms, self-efficacy, and outcome beliefs) about the goal and specific behaviours, selected personality factors, perceived quality of life, physical activity, self-reported adherence and physical assessment are collected at baseline, at the end of the exercise programme and again 3 months later. The project incorporates objective measures of both exercise (attendance log and improvement in physical measures such as improved fitness level, weight loss, improved circumferential anthropometric measures) and medication adherence (verified by non-invasive hair analysis).
The novelty of this project comes from two key aspects, complemented with objective information on exercise and medication adherence. The project assesses beliefs about both the underlying goal such as following prescribed treatment; and about the specific behaviours such as undertaking the exercise or taking the medication, using both implicit and explicit assessments of patients’ beliefs and attitudes. We predict that i) the way people think about the underlying goal of their treatments explains medication and exercise behaviours over and above the effects of the behaviour-specific thinking and ii) the relationship between adherence to exercise and to medical treatment is stronger among those with more favourable views about the goal. Results from this study should identify the key contributing factors to inform subsequent adherence research and afford a more streamlined assessment matrix. The project also aims to inform patient care practices.
UK Clinical Research Network registration number
UKCRN 7842.
PMCID: PMC3490813  PMID: 22853824
HIV; Adherence; Health related exercise; Social cognition; Implicit association test; Hair analysis
16.  Attitudes Underlying Corneal Donation in a Group of Trainee Allied Health Professionals 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(12):e53538.
The focus of this study was to investigate factors that may influence personal willingness to register consent to donate corneal tissue upon death using the theory of planned behaviour in a relatively ethnically homogenous group of trainee allied health professionals. The attainment of this knowledge will be of paramount importance in relation to potential interventions that are designed to change donation-related behaviour.
A questionnaire-based study was undertaken with 92 pre-registration nurses (mean age 24.0 years (standard deviation ±5.6 years); female:male  = 89:3) enrolled at a University in Northern Ireland. Intention to register consent to donate corneal tissue upon death was assessed using both direct and belief-based measures found in the theory of planned behaviour. Descriptive statistics were used to assess demographic information, with correlation and regression analyses being used to identify factors influencing intentions.
The majority of participants were religious (94.6%, n = 87) and mostly Protestant (58.7%, n = 54) or Catholic (35.9%, n = 33). Generally speaking, the theory of planned behaviour accounted for 84% of the variance in intention to register consent. In relation to the constructs found in the theory of planned behaviour, attitude was found to be the strongest predictor of intention to register consent, with subjective norm being the second strongest predictor. Perceived behavioural control did not significantly predict intention to register consent.
The theory of planned behaviour has allowed an understanding of the factors that influence the personal intentions of a group of future allied health professionals from the same ethnic group to register consent to donate their corneal tissue.
PMCID: PMC3534039  PMID: 23300937
17.  Mediated, moderated and direct effects of country of residence, age, and gender on the cognitive and social determinants of adolescent smoking in Spain and the UK: a cross-sectional study 
BMC Public Health  2009;9:173.
European trans-national adolescent smoking prevention interventions based on social influences approaches have had limited success. The attitudes-social influences-efficacy (ASE) model is a social cognition model that states smoking behaviour is determined by smoking intention which, in turn, is predicted by seven ASE determinants; disadvantages, advantages, social acceptance, social norms, modelling, perceived pressure, self-efficacy. Distal factors such as country of residence, age and gender are external to the model. The ASE model is, thus, closely related to the Theory of Planned Behaviour. This study assessed the utility of the ASE model using cross-sectional data from Spanish and UK adolescents.
In 1997, questionnaires were simultaneously administered to Spanish (n = 3716) and UK adolescents (n = 3715) who were considered at high risk of smoking. Participants' age, gender, smoking intentions and ASE determinant scores were identified and linear regression analysis was used to examine the mediated, moderated and direct effects of country of residence, age and gender on participants' smoking intentions.
All UK participants were aged 12 or 13 and most Spanish participants were aged between 12 and 14 (range 12–16 years). Amongst 12 and 13 year olds, regular smoking was more common in Spain. Almost half the participants were female (47.2% in Spain; 49.9% in the UK). Gender did not vary significantly according to age.
The distribution of ASE determinant scores varied by country and predicted intention. The influence of each ASE determinant on intention was moderated by country. Country had a large direct influence on intention (1.72 points on a 7 point scale) but the effects of age and gender were mediated by the ASE determinants.
The findings suggest resisting peer pressure interventions could potentially influence smoking amongst UK adolescents but not Spanish adolescents. Interventions that promote self-efficacy, on the other hand, would possibly have a greater influence on smoking amongst Spanish adolescents.
The ASE model may not capture important cultural factors related to adolescent smoking and the relative contribution of particular ASE determinants to adolescent smoking intentions may differ between countries. Future European trans-national adolescent smoking prevention programmes may benefit from greater undestanding of country-level cultural norms.
PMCID: PMC2700103  PMID: 19497119
18.  A participatory and capacity-building approach to healthy eating and physical activity – SCIP-school: a 2-year controlled trial 
Schools can be effective settings for improving eating habits and physical activity, whereas it is more difficult to prevent obesity. A key challenge is the “implementation gap”. Trade-off must be made between expert-driven programmes on the one hand and contextual relevance, flexibility, participation and capacity building on the other. The aim of the Stockholm County Implementation Programme was to improve eating habits, physical activity, self-esteem, and promote a healthy body weight in children aged 6–16 years. We describe the programme, intervention fidelity, impacts and outcomes after two years of intervention.
Nine out of 18 schools in a middle-class municipality in Sweden agreed to participate whereas the other nine schools served as the comparison group (quasi-experimental study). Tailored action plans were developed by school health teams on the basis of a self-assessment questionnaire called KEY assessing strengths and weaknesses of each school’s health practices and environments. Process evaluation was carried out by the research staff. Impacts at school level were assessed yearly by the KEY. Outcome measures at student level were anthropometry (measured), and health behaviours assessed by a questionnaire, at baseline and after 2 years. All children in grade 2, 4 and 7 were invited to participate (n=1359) of which 59.8% consented. The effect of the intervention on health behaviours, self-esteem, weight status and BMIsds was evaluated by unilevel and multilevel regression analysis adjusted for gender and baseline values.
Programme fidelity was high demonstrating feasibility, but fidelity to school action plans was only 48% after two years. Positive and significant (p<.05) impacts were noted in school health practices and environments after 2 years. At student level no significant intervention effects were seen for the main outcomes.
School staff has the capacity to create their own solutions and make changes at school level on the basis of self-assessment and facilitation by external agents. However these changes were challenging to sustain over time and had little impact on student behaviours or weight status. Better student outcomes could probably be attained by a more focused and evidence-based approach with stepwise implementation of action plans.
PMCID: PMC3545832  PMID: 23245473
Children; Eating habits; Exercise; Fidelity; Health promotion; Obesity prevention; Process evaluation; Quasi-experimental study; Self-esteem
19.  Factors influencing intentions of pregnant women to exercise after giving birth. 
Public Health Reports  1989;104(2):188-195.
The aim of this study was to identify factors that may influence a pregnant woman's decision to exercise after giving birth. A sample of 98 pregnant women were asked to complete a questionnaire investigation attitudes, social norms, perceived barriers to exercise, and intention regarding exercising after giving birth. Also determined were age, education level, exercise habits, number of months elapsed since onset of present pregnancy, and number of children. The regressions of intentions to exercise on all variables yielded R2 of 0.52 for nulliparous and 0.60 for pluriparous pregnant women. Important differences in variables that explained intentions were found between both groups of women, with perceived barriers to exercise being a key predictor that was, in turn, influenced by previous experience with pregnancy. It is suggested that the experience of the postnatal period modifies the interrelation between the variables explaining intentions regarding exercise after giving birth. Consequently, the programs should take into account the impact that the birth of a first child will have on the perceived barriers to exercise.
PMCID: PMC1580036  PMID: 2495554
20.  Attitudes of asthmatic and nonasthmatic children to physical exercise 
The aim of this study was to examine the physical activity of children with and without asthma in Greece, the factors affecting their intention to exercise, and the influence of gender.
The study involved 50 children with asthma and 50 children without asthma, aged 9–14-years old. We used the leisure time exercise questionnaire to assess the frequency and intensity of exercise. The planned behavior scale examined seven factors affecting physical activity: attitude, intention, self-identity, attitude strength, social role model, information, and knowledge.
Asthmatic children did not differ significantly in mild, moderate, and overall level of physical activity from children without asthma but they participated less in intense and systematic exercise. The two asthmatic groups did not differ in any of the planned behavior factors. Significant differences between genders occurred with respect to self-identity and social role model. Boys appeared to exercise more regularly and intensely compared to girls.
Asthmatic children did not systematically participate in physical activity, preferring mostly mild and moderate intensity activities. Children with and without asthma had comparable positive attitudes and intentions toward exercise.
PMCID: PMC3554104  PMID: 23378744
planned behavior theory; asthma; sports; health behavior
21.  Higher Physical Fatigue Predicts Adherence to a 12-Week Exercise Intervention in Women With Elevated Blood Pressure 
Health Psychology  2011;31(2):156-163.
To investigate predictors of exercise adherence to a 12-week exercise intervention for sedentary women and men with elevated blood pressure (BP).
Fifty-one otherwise healthy and unmedicated adults (27 women and 24 men) with elevated BP (≥120/80 mmHg but <179/109 mmHg) participated in a 12-week exercise intervention involving cardiovascular and strength training. Participants kept weekly exercise logs detailing minutes spent exercising each week. The following were assessed before and after the intervention: cardiorespiratory fitness (in mL/kg/min), body mass index (BMI), level of habitual physical activity, physical fatigue, self-efficacy for exercise habits, and social support.
Regression analysis revealed that mean exercise minutes/week were predicted by higher age (p < .05), higher cardiorespiratory fitness (p < .05), and a gender by physical fatigue interaction (p < .01; R2 = 0.34, F < 3.248, p < .01). Women who reported higher physical fatigue prior to the intervention spent more time exercising during the 12-week intervention than those with lower levels of physical fatigue. This relationship persisted after controlling for age, BMI, cardiorespiratory fitness, level of habitual physical activity prior to the intervention, self-efficacy for exercise habits, and social support (p < .01). The gender by physical fatigue interaction explained 13.9% of the variance in mean minutes exercised/week above and beyond the effects of covariates.
Both gender and fatigue should be considered when developing exercise interventions, such that more initial physical fatigue in women is associated with a tendency to devote greater amounts of time to exercising.
PMCID: PMC3295923  PMID: 21988095
exercise; adherence; gender; fatigue
22.  Knowledge, attitudes, beliefs and behaviour intentions for three bowel management practices in intensive care: effects of a targeted protocol implementation for nursing and medical staff 
BMC Nursing  2015;14:6.
Bowel management protocols have the potential to minimize complications for critically ill patients. Targeted implementation can increase the uptake of protocols by clinicians into practice. The theory of planned behaviour offers a framework in which to investigate clinicians’ intention to perform the behaviour of interest. This study aimed to evaluate the effect of implementing a bowel management protocol on intensive care nursing and medical staffs’ knowledge, attitude, subjective norms, perceived behavioural control, behaviour intentions, role perceptions and past behaviours in relation to three bowel management practices.
A descriptive before and after survey using a self-administered questionnaire sent to nursing and medical staff working within three intensive care units before and after implementation of our bowel management protocol (pre: May – June 2008; post: Feb – May 2009).
Participants had significantly higher knowledge scores post-implementation of our protocol (pre mean score 17.6; post mean score 19.3; p = 0.004). Post-implementation there was a significant increase in: self-reported past behaviour (pre mean score 5.38; post mean score 7.11; p = 0.002) and subjective norms scores (pre mean score 3.62; post mean score 4.18; p = 0.016) for bowel assessment; and behaviour intention (pre mean score 5.22; post mean score 5.65; p = 0.048) for administration of enema.
This evaluation, informed by the theory of planned behaviour, has provided useful insights into factors that influence clinician intentions to perform evidence-based bowel management practices in intensive care. Addressing factors such as knowledge, attitudes and beliefs can assist in targeting implementation strategies to positively affect clinician behaviour change. Despite an increase in clinicians’ knowledge scores, our implementation strategy did not, however, significantly change clinician behaviour intentions for all three bowel management practices. Further research is required to explore the influence of opinion leaders and organizational culture on clinicians’ behaviour intentions related to bowel management for intensive care patients.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/s12912-015-0056-z) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
PMCID: PMC4320841  PMID: 25663819
Bowel management; Intensive care; Nursing; Theory of planned behaviour; Questionnaire
23.  Which outcome expectancies are important in determining young adults’ intentions to use condoms with casual sexual partners?: a cross-sectional study 
BMC Public Health  2013;13:133.
The prevalence of unwanted pregnancy and sexually transmitted infection amongst young adults represents an important public health problem in the UK. Individuals’ attitude towards the use of condoms has been identified as an important determinant of behavioural intentions and action. The Theory of Planned Behaviour has been widely used to explain and predict health behaviour. This posits that the degree to which an individual positively or negatively values a behaviour (termed ‘direct attitude’) is based upon consideration of the likelihood of a number of outcomes occurring (outcome expectancy) weighted by the perceived desirability of those outcomes (outcome evaluation). Outcome expectancy and outcome evaluation when multiplied form ‘indirect attitude’. The study aimed to assess whether positive outcome expectancies of unprotected sex were more important for young adults with lower safe sex intentions, than those with safer sex intentions, and to isolate optimal outcomes for targeting through health promotion campaigns.
A cross-sectional survey design was used. Data was collected from 1051 school and university students aged 16–24 years. Measures of intention, direct attitude and indirect attitude were taken. Participants were asked to select outcome expectancies which were most important in determining whether they would use condoms with casual sexual partners.
People with lower safe sex intentions were more likely than those with safer sex intentions to select all positive outcome expectancies for unprotected sex as salient, and less likely to select all negative outcome expectancies as salient. Outcome expectancies for which the greatest proportion of participants in the less safe sex group held an unfavourable position were: showing that I am a caring person, making sexual experiences less enjoyable, and protecting against pregnancy.
The findings point to ways in which the attitudes of those with less safe sex intentions could be altered in order to motivate positive behavioural change. They suggest that it would be advantageous to highlight the potential for condom use to demonstrate a caring attitude, to challenge the potential for protected sex to reduce sexual pleasure, and to target young adults’ risk appraisals for pregnancy as a consequence of unprotected sex with casual sexual partners.
PMCID: PMC3599836  PMID: 23406327
Outcome expectancies; Condom use; Theory of planned behaviour; Attitude; Expectancy-value muddle; Dimensional salience
24.  Shared Decision Making Does Not Influence Physicians against Clinical Practice Guidelines 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(4):e62537.
While shared decision making (SDM) and adherence to clinical practice guidelines (CPGs) are important, some believe they are incompatible. This study explored the mutual influence between physicians’ intention to engage in SDM and their intention to follow CPGs.
Embedded within a clustered randomized trial to assess the impact of training physicians in SDM about using antibiotics to treat acute respiratory tract infections, this study evaluated physicians’ intentions to both engage in SDM and follow CPGs. A self-administered questionnaire based on the theory of planned behavior evaluated both behavioral intentions and their respective determinants (attitude, subjective norm and perceived behavioral control) at study entry and exit. We used path analysis to explore the relationships between the intentions. We conducted statistical analyses using the maximum likelihood method and the variance-covariance matrix. Goodness of fit indices encompassed the chi-square statistic, the comparative fit index and the root mean square error of approximation.
We analyzed 244 responses at entry and 236 at exit. In the control group, at entry we observed that physicians’ intention to engage in SDM (r = 0, t = 0.03) did not affect their intention to follow CPGs; however, their intention to follow CPGs (r = −0.31 t = −2.82) did negatively influence their intention to engage in SDM. At exit, neither behavioral intention influenced the other. In the experimental group, at entry neither behavioral intention influenced the other; at exit, the intention to engage in SDM still did not influence the intention to use CPGs, although the intention to follow CPGs (r = −0.15 t = −2.02) slightly negatively influenced the intention to engage in SDM, but this was not clinically significant.
Physicians’ intention to engage in SDM does not affect their intention to adopt CPGs even after SDM training. Physicians’ intention to adopt CPGs had no clinically significant influence on intention to engage in SDM.
Trial Registration NCT01116076
PMCID: PMC3634782  PMID: 23638111
25.  Comparison between two programmes for reducing the levels of risk indicators of heart diseases among male professional drivers 
OBJECTIVES: To compare two programmes for reducing the levels of risk indicators of heart diseases among professional drivers. The programmes were focused on changes of lifestyle. The aim of the programmes was to initiate and motivate a process of change within the driver, which in the long term should lead to permanent and sound health habits. One programme was based on health profile assessment and the other was a health examination. METHODS: Altogether, 102 subjects were investigated (51 allocated to an intervention group and 51 to a reference group). The programme in the intervention group (health profile assessment) was based on revelatory communication, adjusted to the driver and contained individual and group activities. The reference group went through a health examination. In both groups blood pressure, serum lipid concentrations, body mass index, and estimated maximal oxygen uptake were measured and the lifestyle habits were surveyed by questionnaires at the start and at follow ups of 6 and 18 months. RESULTS: The results showed that in the intervention group the maximal oxygen uptake increased, as did exercise habits and the intention to practice good dietary habits. Variable working hours was the most common obstacle to change a health habit. In the reference group the maximal oxygen uptake increased and the concentration of serum total cholesterol and the number of people who perceived stress and loneliness decreased. CONCLUSIONS: Both the health profile assessment and the health examination had an effect on the levels of some risk indicators of heart diseases. Both programmes turned out to be useful because of high participation during the entire period and a generally positive attitude among the subjects.
PMCID: PMC1757619  PMID: 9849543

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