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1.  Does perceived risk influence the effects of message framing? A new investigation of a widely held notion 
Psychology & health  2014;29(8):933-949.
Health-promoting messages can be framed in terms of the beneficial consequences of healthy behaviour (gain-framed messages) or the detrimental consequences of unhealthy behaviour (loss-framed messages). An influential notion holds that the perceived risk associated with the recommended behaviour determines the relative persuasiveness of gain- and loss-framed messages. This ‘risk-framing hypothesis’, as we call it, was derived from prospect theory, has been central to health message framing research for the last two decades, and does not cease to appeal to researchers. The present paper examines the validity of the risk-framing hypothesis. We performed six empirical studies on the interaction between perceived risk and message framing. These studies were conducted in two different countries and employed framed messages targeting skin cancer prevention and detection, physical activity, breast self-examination and vaccination behaviour. Behavioural intention served as the outcome measure. None of these studies found evidence in support of the risk-framing hypothesis. We conclude that the empirical evidence in favour of the hypothesis is weak and discuss the ramifications of this for future message framing research.
PMCID: PMC4349530  PMID: 24579986
message framing; persuasion; health behaviour; risk perceptions
2.  Towards parsimony in habit measurement: Testing the convergent and predictive validity of an automaticity subscale of the Self-Report Habit Index 
The twelve-item Self-Report Habit Index (SRHI) is the most popular measure of energy-balance related habits. This measure characterises habit by automatic activation, behavioural frequency, and relevance to self-identity. Previous empirical research suggests that the SRHI may be abbreviated with no losses in reliability or predictive utility. Drawing on recent theorising suggesting that automaticity is the ‘active ingredient’ of habit-behaviour relationships, we tested whether an automaticity-specific SRHI subscale could capture habit-based behaviour patterns in self-report data.
A content validity task was undertaken to identify a subset of automaticity indicators within the SRHI. The reliability, convergent validity and predictive validity of the automaticity item subset was subsequently tested in secondary analyses of all previous SRHI applications, identified via systematic review, and in primary analyses of four raw datasets relating to energy‐balance relevant behaviours (inactive travel, active travel, snacking, and alcohol consumption).
A four-item automaticity subscale (the ‘Self-Report Behavioural Automaticity Index’; ‘SRBAI’) was found to be reliable and sensitive to two hypothesised effects of habit on behaviour: a habit-behaviour correlation, and a moderating effect of habit on the intention-behaviour relationship.
The SRBAI offers a parsimonious measure that adequately captures habitual behaviour patterns. The SRBAI may be of particular utility in predicting future behaviour and in studies tracking habit formation or disruption.
PMCID: PMC3552971  PMID: 22935297
Habit; Automaticity; Self-report; Measurement; Energy‐balance related behaviours
3.  Associations between Safety from Crime, Cycling, and Obesity in a Dutch Elderly Population: Results from the Longitudinal Aging Study Amsterdam 
The objective of this cross-sectional study was to investigate differences in associations between crime rates, cycling, and weight status between people living in low and high socioeconomic status (SES) neighbourhoods. In total, 470 participants in the Longitudinal Aging Study Amsterdam were included (age: 63–70 y). Body height and weight were measured using a stadiometer and calibrated weight scale, respectively. Cycling behaviour was assessed in a face-to-face interview, and neighbourhood crime rates were assessed using data from police reports. Men residing in high SES neighbourhoods cycled more than males residing in low SES neighbourhoods. Cycling was negatively related to crime rates among both men and women living in low SES neighbourhoods. Among men living in low SES neighbourhoods, more cycling was associated with lower BMI. Interventions aiming to prevent obesity in older people may consider aiming at increasing bicycle use in lower SES neighbourhoods, but neighbourhood safety issues should be considered.
PMCID: PMC3317166  PMID: 22523503
4.  Does action planning moderate the intention-habit interaction in the exercise domain? A three-way interaction analysis investigation 
Journal of Behavioral Medicine  2011;35(5):509-519.
Both habit strength and action planning have been found to moderate the intention-exercise behaviour relationship, but no research exists that has investigated how habit strength and action planning simultaneously influence this relationship. The present study was designed to explore this issue in a prospective sample of undergraduate students (N = 415): action planning, habit strength, intention, attitudes, subjective norms and perceived behavioural control were assessed at baseline and exercise behaviour was assessed 2 weeks later. Both habit strength and action planning moderated the intention-exercise relationship, with stronger relationship at higher levels of planning or habit strength. Decomposing a significant action planning × habit strength × intention interaction showed that the strength of the intention-exercise relationship progressed linearly through levels of action planning and habit strength. These novel results show that action planning strengthens the intention-habit strength interaction in the exercise domain: exercise interventions should therefore focus on simultaneously bolstering action planning and habit strength.
PMCID: PMC3439603  PMID: 21979328
Exercise behaviour; Intention-exercise relationship; Habit strength; Action planning; Interaction
5.  Environmental influences on energy balance-related behaviors: A dual-process view 
Studies on the impact of the 'obesogenic' environment have often used non-theoretical approaches. In this journal's debate and in other papers authors have argued the necessity of formulating conceptual models for differentiating the causal role of environmental influences on behavior.
The present paper aims to contribute to the debate by presenting a dual-process view on the environment – behavior relationship. This view is conceptualized in the EnRG framework (Environmental Research framework for weight Gain prevention). In the framework, behavior is postulated to be the result of a simultaneous influence of conscious and unconscious processes. Environmental influences are hypothesized to influence behavior both indirectly and directly. The indirect causal mechanism reflects the mediating role of behavior-specific cognitions in the influence of the environment on behavior. A direct influence reflects the automatic, unconscious, influence of the environment on behavior. Specific personal and behavioral factors are postulated to moderate the causal path (i.e., inducing either the automatic or the cognitively mediated environment – behavior relation). In addition, the EnRG framework applies an energy balance-approach, stimulating the integrated study of determinants of diet and physical activity.
The application of a dual-process view may guide research towards causal mechanisms linking specific environmental features with energy balance-related behaviors in distinct populations. The present paper is hoped to contribute to the evolution of a paradigm that may help to disentangle the role of 'obesogenic' environmental factors.
PMCID: PMC1481572  PMID: 16700907

Results 1-5 (5)