Using the question-behavior effect to change multiple health behaviors: An exploratory randomized controlled trial

1Citations
Citations of this article
15Readers
Mendeley users who have this article in their library.

Abstract

Asking questions about a behavior has been found to influence subsequent performance of that behavior, a phenomenon termed the question-behavior effect (QBE). The present study addressed two under-researched questions concerning the QBE: (1) Can the QBE be used to change multiple health behaviors, and (2) does enhancing dissonance during questionnaire completion increase the magnitude of the QBE? Participants (N = 1534) were randomized to one of three conditions (dissonance-enhanced QBE; standard QBE; control) that targeted three health-protective behaviors (eating fruit and vegetables, physical activity, dental flossing) and three health-risk behaviors (alcohol intake, sedentariness, unhealthy snacking). The dissonance-enhanced intervention comprised a message designed to pressurize participants into forming healthful behavioral intentions. Behavior was assessed via self-reports at four-week follow up. Findings showed significant overall effects of the QBE both in increasing performance of health-protective behaviors (p =.001) and in reducing performance of health-risk behaviors (p =.04). Compared to the standard QBE condition, the dissonance-enhanced QBE intervention increased performance of health-protective behaviors (p =.04) and marginally reduced performance of health-risk behaviors (p =.07). The dissonance-enhanced QBE intervention outperformed the control condition in all analyses. This is the first report that a brief QBE intervention influences performance of multiple health behaviors. Findings supported the idea that magnifying dissonance increases the impact of the QBE.

Cite

CITATION STYLE

APA

Wilding, S., Conner, M., Prestwich, A., Lawton, R., & Sheeran, P. (2019). Using the question-behavior effect to change multiple health behaviors: An exploratory randomized controlled trial. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 81, 53–60. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jesp.2018.07.008

Register to see more suggestions

Mendeley helps you to discover research relevant for your work.

Already have an account?

Save time finding and organizing research with Mendeley

Sign up for free