Effects of cognitive dissonance on intentions to change diet and physical activity among college students.Abstract: The purpose of this study was to test the hypothesis that when college students are made to feel cognitive dissonance cognitive dissonance
Mental conflict that occurs when beliefs or assumptions are contradicted by new information. The concept was introduced by the psychologist Leon Festinger (1919–89) in the late 1950s. about their diet and exercise behaviors, they will be more likely to adopt healthier diet and exercise habits--particularly when the dissonance is tied to appearance rather than health concerns. One hundred twenty-six college students reported a number of diet and exercise behaviors after writing about why high-quality diet and exercise promotes health (dissonance-health), or physical appearance (dissonance-appearance); or they wrote about an unrelated topic (control). Risk perceptions related to negative health and appearance consequences emanating from diet and physical activity levels were then assessed. Following this, participants were instructed to indicate whether they intended to change their diet or exercise behaviors, for the better, anytime during the next 6 months. It was found that dissonance did not effect absolute levels of risk perceptions or intentions, but did influence the relationship between risk perceptions and intentions. In particular, there was no correlation in the control group, a negative correlation Noun 1. negative correlation - a correlation in which large values of one variable are associated with small values of the other; the correlation coefficient is between 0 and -1
indirect correlation in the dissonance-appearance group, and a positive correlation Noun 1. positive correlation - a correlation in which large values of one variable are associated with large values of the other and small with small; the correlation coefficient is between 0 and +1
direct correlation in the dissonance-health group. Implications of these findings are discussed.
Obesity has become an increasingly important public health problem in the United States United States, officially United States of America, republic (2005 est. pop. 295,734,000), 3,539,227 sq mi (9,166,598 sq km), North America. The United States is the world's third largest country in population and the fourth largest country in area. (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), agency of the U.S. Public Health Service since 1973, with headquarters in Atlanta; it was established in 1946 as the Communicable Disease Center. , 2006). Over the last few decades, the percentage of Americans who are clinically overweight has been steadily increasing (National Health Interview Survey, 2004). This trend has filtered into college-aged student populations. According to according to
1. As stated or indicated by; on the authority of: according to historians.
2. In keeping with: according to instructions.
3. the American College American College is the name of:
As college students begin to manage their own lives, they are at liberty to regulate their involvement in various health behaviors. Health promotion programs targeted at college students must emphasize the importance of integrating healthy behaviors as routine during these seminal seminal /sem·i·nal/ (sem´i-n'l) pertaining to semen or to a seed.
Of, relating to, containing, or conveying semen or seed. years (Martinelli, 1999). By encouraging college students to adopt healthy diet and physical activity behaviors, public health educators can help to extend the number of years of enhanced quality of life for individuals who might otherwise become predisposed pre·dis·pose
v. pre·dis·posed, pre·dis·pos·ing, pre·dis·pos·es
a. To make (someone) inclined to something in advance: to chronic disease (Fries, 2004). This philosophy becomes all the more practical as medical research indicates that sedentary sedentary /sed·en·tary/ (sed´en-tar?e)
1. sitting habitually; of inactive habits.
2. pertaining to a sitting posture.
of inactive habits; pertaining to a fat, castrated or confined animal. individuals who eat poorly are much more likely to develop health problems such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease Cardiovascular disease
Disease that affects the heart and blood vessels.
Mentioned in: Lipoproteins Test
cardiovascular disease , cancer, and stroke (National Institutes of Health, 2005).
What then is the best way to elicit e·lic·it
tr.v. e·lic·it·ed, e·lic·it·ing, e·lic·its
a. To bring or draw out (something latent); educe.
b. To arrive at (a truth, for example) by logic.
2. healthy diet and physical activity behaviors from college students? Most students are not meeting dietary and physical activity guidelines guidelines,
n.pl a set of standards, criteria, or specifications to be used or followed in the performance of certain tasks. , which suggests a need for prevention interventions and increased understanding of overweight college students (Huang et al., 2003). While balanced diets balanced diet
A diet that furnishes in proper proportions all of the nutrients necessary for adequate nutrition.
balanced diet and innovative exercise regimens provide the means to reduce obesity, these programs generally do not have lasting effects among college student populations (Nicklas et al., 1995; Engstrom, Tobelmann, & Albertson, 1997; American College of Sports Medicine '''Founded in 1954, the AMERICAN COLLEGE OF SPORTS MEDICINE is the largest sports medicine and exercise science organization in the world. More than 20,000 international, national and regional members are dedicated to advancing and integrating scientific research to provide educational , 2000; Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2004). Most interventions of this type focus on endorsing actual behaviors, but few focus on the cognitive barriers preventing healthy diet and physical activity. Attitudes constitute a considerable cognitive barrier limiting adherence to healthy behaviors (Ziebland et al., 1998).
Cognitive dissonance (Festinger, 1957) has been shown to affect attitudes and behavior by creating inconsistent cognitions within individuals (Draycott & Dabbs, 1998). Cognitive inconsistencies have been shown to stimulate individuals to actively attempt altering their behaviors in hopes of attaining consonance con·so·nance
1. Agreement; harmony; accord.
a. Close correspondence of sounds.
b. The repetition of consonants or of a consonant pattern, especially at the ends of words, as in blank between attitude and behavior (Elliot & Devine, 1994). By causing college students to feel cognitive dissonance between their attitudes about diet and physical activity and their own self-reported diet and physical activity behaviors, they may be more likely to reassess reassess
to reconsider the value or importance of
Verb 1. reassess - revise or renew one's assessment
reevaluate their intentions to engage in these health behaviors. Once individuals feel dissonance between their attitudes and behaviors, the arousal arousal /arous·al/ (ah-rou´z'l)
1. a state of responsiveness to sensory stimulation or excitability.
2. the act or state of waking from or as if from sleep.
3. they feel may serve as a catalyst for deciding to engage in healthy behaviors (Stone et al., 1994). After encountering cognitive dissonance, individuals may display increased levels of risk and worry regarding their negative health behaviors, which, in turn, could help to influence positive behavioral intentions.
Individuals have been shown to feel the need to reduce any dissonance that they feel between their health attitudes and behaviors, by actively changing their health habits (Leary, Tchividjian, & Kraxberger, 1994). The dissonance that one feels can have a varying impact on behavioral intentions, depending on the circumstances associated with the dissonance. When individuals feel cognitive dissonance between their attitudes about health behaviors and their actual health behaviors, it is proposed that their feelings of risk regarding their physical appearance and health will become elevated. Risk perceptions are thought to be a key predictor of health behaviors in many health behavior models, such as the Health Belief Model (Janz & Becker, 1984), Protection Motivation Theory (Rogers & Prentice-Dunn, 1997), and the Precaution Adoption Process Model (Weinstein, 1998); however, the actual association between these two constructs varies considerably. For example, risk perceptions for HIV HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus), either of two closely related retroviruses that invade T-helper lymphocytes and are responsible for AIDS. There are two types of HIV: HIV-1 and HIV-2. HIV-1 is responsible for the vast majority of AIDS in the United States. are only moderately correlated with intentions to have unprotected sex Unprotected sex refers to any act of sexual intercourse in which the participants use no form of barrier contraception. Sexually transmitted infections
Specifically, unprotected sex (Gerrard, Gibbons Famous people named Gibbons include:
The association between risk perception and behavioral intentions may be influenced by a variety of situational constraints. For instance, sexual decision-making among young adults is often made under the influence of alcohol and in the context of increased sexual arousal sexual arousal Horny/horniness, randy/randiness Physiology A state of sexual 'yellow alert' which has a mental component–↑ cortical responsiveness to sensory stimulation, and physical component–↑ penile sensitivity, neural response to stimuli, , thereby reducing the salience sa·li·ence also sa·li·en·cy
n. pl. sa·li·en·ces also sa·li·en·cies
1. The quality or condition of being salient.
2. A pronounced feature or part; a highlight.
Noun 1. of risk perceptions. Similarly, we were interested in whether the risk and worry posed by cognitive dissonance might influence the risk perception--intentions relationship. In related work, we found that giving people feedback that their diets were less healthy than that of their peers reduced the correlation between dietary variables (e.g., red meat consumption) and perception of risk for heart disease (Klein, Blier, & Janze, 2001). Although this study did not measure intentions, it shows that associations among health-related cognitions may be influenced by threats.
Studies have shown that interventions designed to threaten individuals' views of how they are perceived are more effective than traditional, information-based health interventions health intervention Health care An activity undertaken to prevent, improve, or stabilize a medical condition (Leary, Tchividjian, & Kraxberger, 1994; Feingold, 1992; Mahler et al., 2003). College students have self-reported reducing UV exposure after being subjected to a novel, photo-aging (premature wrinkling and age spots) intervention making the negative-appearance consequences of UV exposure more salient (Mahler et al., 2003). Research has shown that people will change their health behaviors in order to improve and/or maintain their outward physical appearance so that others will see them as desirable (Leary, Tchividjian, & Kraxberger, 1994). Those who possess a more attractive appearance are perceived as being more sociable, warm, intelligent, and socially skilled. Conversely con·verse 1
intr.v. con·versed, con·vers·ing, con·vers·es
1. To engage in a spoken exchange of thoughts, ideas, or feelings; talk. See Synonyms at speak.
2. , those who are viewed as less attractive draw inferences of laziness, self-indulgence, and lack of self-control (Feingold, 1992). Because of these perceptions, people may regulate their weight due to concerns about physical appearance (Leary, Tchividjian, & Kraxberger, 1994).
Since cognitive dissonance occurs when it is salient to people that they hold two inconsistent cognitions, any contextual factor that increases cognitive dissonance by definition is making cognitions more accessible. The strength of this relationship may depend, however, on the nature of the dissonance treatment. Appearance-based dissonance might reduce the association between health-related risk perceptions and intentions, whereas health-based dissonance might reduce the association between appearance-related risk perceptions and intentions. We were interested not only in effects of dissonance on absolute levels of risk perceptions and intentions, but also in the relationships between risk and intention.
In sum, we had two purposes in the study. The first was to test the hypothesis that when college students are made to feel cognitive dissonance about their diet and physical activity behaviors, they will be more likely to intend to adopt healthier diet and physical activity habits. It is hypothesized that dissonance would be more apparent when college students were encouraged to think about how their health habits influenced their appearance rather than their health. Dissonance participants were also expected to exhibit increased worry and perceived risk, which was expected to mediate MEDIATE, POWERS. Those incident to primary powers, given by a principal to his agent. For example, the general authority given to collect, receive and pay debts due by or to the principal is a primary power. the anticipated effect on intentions. Finally, we considered whether dissonance influences the important relationship between risk perceptions and intentions.
One hundred twenty-six full-time college students (RR = 59.4%) from a school in the Southwestern United States participated in the study. The ages of the participants ranged from 18 to 23 years (mean = 20.61, SD = 1.25). Participants were enrolled as college students during the spring semester se·mes·ter
One of two divisions of 15 to 18 weeks each of an academic year.
[German, from Latin (cursus) s of 2005. The participants were students in a personal health course offered by the university.
The study was introduced as an attempt to examine how attitudes impact diet and exercise behaviors among college students and informed consent was obtained. Approval from the university's Institutional Review Board was sought and granted. Each individual was assigned randomly into one of three groups (control, dissonance-health, dissonance-appearance). The distribution of participants was relatively even in nature (Table 1). A written statement preceding the questionnaire informed the participants as to the intention of the research.
Participants were first asked to write a brief essay. The participants in the "control" condition wrote an essay about their favorite movie. Those subjected to the "dissonance-health" condition wrote the essay about why healthy diet and physical activity is integral to maintaining one's health. Participants in the "dissonance-appearance" group wrote the essay conveying why diet and exercise is necessary to maintaining an attractive physical appearance. Following completion of the essay, the participants completed questionnaires assessing 1) their present physical activity behaviors, 2) their dietary habits, 3) risk/worry they felt about their diet and exercise habits, and 4) diet/exercise intentions for the future.
The physical activity questionnaire assessed the number of days that the participants participated in a variety of physical activities during a normal week. It was based on a typical 7-day week, and looked for activity which lasted for 30-60 minutes. Activities included on the physical activity inventory were: intense cardiovascular exercise cardiovascular exercise Sports medicine Any vigorous aerobic exercise, which near-maxes the heart rate–eg, basketball, bicycling, cross-country skiing, dancing, hiking, jogging, race-walking, racquetball, running, skating, soccer, stair-climbing, volleyball. , weight training, moderate-intensity activity, stretching/flexibility, and active living (e.g., walking, jogging jogging
Aerobic exercise involving running at an easy pace. Jogging (1967) by Bill Bowerman and W.E. Harris boosted jogging's popularity for fitness, weight loss, and stress relief. , bicycling to/from class). Questions were also adapted from The Multidimensional mul·ti·di·men·sion·al
Of, relating to, or having several dimensions.
multi·di·men Health Behavior Inventory to evaluate how often participants engaged in behaviors such as aerobic aerobic /aer·o·bic/ (ar-o´bik)
1. having molecular oxygen present.
2. growing, living, or occurring in the presence of molecular oxygen.
3. requiring oxygen for respiration.
4. activity, recreational physical activity, and stretching (Kulbok et al., 1999). The observed reliability of the data derived from these questions was acceptable ([alpha]=.72 ).
The dietary questionnaire asked the participants to indicate the number of days that they ate the recommended amount of servings from categories delineated de·lin·e·ate
tr.v. de·lin·e·at·ed, de·lin·e·at·ing, de·lin·e·ates
1. To draw or trace the outline of; sketch out.
2. To represent pictorially; depict.
3. by the new Food Guide Pyramid Food Guide Pyramid
A food pyramid devised by the US Department of Agriculture in 1992, in which grains and cereals represent the base beneath layers for fruits and vegetables, meats and dairy products, and fats and sweets at the peak. (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Noun 1. Department of Health and Human Services - the United States federal department that administers all federal programs dealing with health and welfare; created in 1979
Health and Human Services, HHS , 2005). A copy of the pyramid was provided for the participants' reference. Participants were then asked whether they attempted to limit fat, sugar, and calories from their diet using questions adapted from The Multidimensional Health Behavior Inventory (Kulbok et al., 1999). The observed reliability of the data derived from these questions was also determined ([alpha]=.84).
Another questionnaire followed the diet and physical activity inventory assessing risk and worry as they related to health and appearance consequences of diet and exercise behaviors. Eight questions were devised to evaluate participants' risk and worry. All of the questions were rated on a 7-point scale (1 = not at all, 7 = to a great extent). Four questions evaluated risk, with two assessing risk for health problems ([alpha]=.75) and two assessing risk for diminished appearance as a result of diet and exercise behaviors ([alpha]=.85). Another four questions evaluated worry, with two assessing worry for health problems ([alpha]=.76) and two assessing worry for diminished appearance ([alpha]=.90) as a result of diet and physical activity behaviors.
After assessing risk and worry, participants were instructed to indicate whether they intended to change their diet or exercise behaviors, for the better, anytime during the next 6 months. Participants rated their intentions to change their diet and/or physical activity behaviors ([alpha]=.73) on separate 5-point scales (1 = no, not at all; 2 = probably not; 3 = maybe; 4 = likely; 5 = definitely).
Upon completion of the questionnaires, comparisons were made among the control, dissonance-health, and dissonance-appearance groups on the risk, worry, and future intention items. The analysis involved three steps. In the first step, ANOVA anova
see analysis of variance.
ANOVA Analysis of variance, see there was conducted to determine whether different treatments were associated with different levels of intention to engage in diet and physical activity behaviors. The second step used MANOVA MANOVA Multivariate Analysis of the Variance calculations to examine whether different treatments were associated with different levels of risk perceptions of health (RiskH) and appearance (RiskA) outcomes. In the third step, multi-group comparisons, using Structural Equation Modeling Structural equation modeling (SEM) is a statistical technique for testing and estimating causal relationships using a combination of statistical data and qualitative causal assumptions. , were performed to determine whether the effect of risk perceptions regarding health and appearance (RiskH, RiskA) on intention to engage in diet and physical activity behaviors (Intent) was influenced by the treatment strategies.
The means and standard deviations In statistics, the average amount a number varies from the average number in a series of numbers.
(statistics) standard deviation - (SD) A measure of the range of values in a set of numbers. for all the continuous variables in each group are listed in Table 2. The corrected overall variance/covariance matrix and the correlation matrix Noun 1. correlation matrix - a matrix giving the correlations between all pairs of data sets
statistics - a branch of applied mathematics concerned with the collection and interpretation of quantitative data and the use of probability theory to estimate population are reported in Table 3. In order to minimize the impact of measurement error on analysis results, the variance of each continuous variable was corrected by multiplying it by the Cronbach's alpha Cronbach's (alpha) has an important use as a measure of the reliability of a psychometric instrument. It was first named as alpha by Cronbach (1951), as he had intended to continue with further instruments. reliability coefficient (Bollen, 1989; Goldstein, 1979).
The correlation between risk for health problems and worry for health problems was extremely high. The correlation between risk for diminished appearance (RiskA) and worry for diminished appearance (WorryA) was also extremely high, and after correction, the correlation coefficient Correlation Coefficient
A measure that determines the degree to which two variable's movements are associated.
The correlation coefficient is calculated as: was greater than 1.06. This suggested that, with regard to both health and appearance, risk perception and worry were linearly dependent. This linear dependence caused the sample covariance matrix In statistics and probability theory, the covariance matrix is a matrix of covariances between elements of a vector. It is the natural generalization to higher dimensions of the concept of the variance of a scalar-valued random variable. and correlation matrix to be non-positive definite, which prevented further analysis on these matrices. In addition, considering the strong theoretical connection between risk and worry, the investigators only included risk perception in subsequent analyses.
EFFECT OF TREATMENT ON INTENTION TO ENGAGE IN HEALTH BEHAVIORS
One-way ANOVA analyses were completed to test the difference among the mean levels of Intent among the three treatment groups. No statistically significant effect was found (p=0.864), and treatment only explained 2% of the variability in the intention scores.
EFFECT OF TREATMENT ON RISK PERCEPTION OF HEALTH AND RISK PERCEPTION OF APPEARANCE
In order to consider the correlation between RiskH and RiskA, Multivariate Analysis multivariate analysis,
n a statistical approach used to evaluate multiple variables.
n a set of techniques used when variation in several variables has to be studied simultaneously. of Variance (MANOVA) was used to test the effect of treatment on both variables simultaneously. The effect of treatment was found to be neither statistically, nor practically significant (Wilk's lamda=0.969, p=0.427).
EFFECT OF TREATMENT ON THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN RISK PERCEPTION AND INTENTION
In the first two steps, it was found that the treatment strategies did not influence participant Intent to engage in healthy behaviors, and, furthermore, did not influence their RiskH and RiskA. Further analyses examined whether the treatments influenced the relationship between risk perceptions (RiskH & RiskA) and intentions (Intent) to engage in healthy behaviors. In order to determine if there was a relationship between these variables, path analysis was used to explore the overall effect of RiskH and RiskA on Intent. Once this analysis was completed, multi-group comparisons investigated whether the effects of risk perceptions on intention were different across the three treatments. Figure 1 represents the path model that was used. The path analysis and multi-group comparisons were conducted with corrected covariance Covariance
A measure of the degree to which returns on two risky assets move in tandem. A positive covariance means that asset returns move together. A negative covariance means returns vary inversely. matrices in AMOS Amos (ā`məs), prophetic book of the Bible. The majority of its oracles are chronologically earlier than those of the Bible's other prophetic books. His activity is dated c.760 B.C. 5.0 (SPSS A statistical package from SPSS, Inc., Chicago (www.spss.com) that runs on PCs, most mainframes and minis and is used extensively in marketing research. It provides over 50 statistical processes, including regression analysis, correlation and analysis of variance. , Inc., 2005).
[FIGURE 1 OMITTED]
When participants were mixed ignoring their group membership, RiskH had no significant effect on Intent ([beta]=-0.062, p=0.513); however, RiskA had a significant positive effect on Intent ([beta]=0.454, p<0.001). The result indicated that, overall, one standard unit increase in RiskA resulted in a 0.45 standard unit increase in Intent. The increase in RiskH, however, did not result in an increase in Intent.
Multi-group comparisons were used to investigate whether the influence of risk perceptions on intention were different across the three treatment strategies. The corrected covariance matrices for each group, which are listed in Table 3, were extrapolated. Two steps were conducted in this multi-group comparison. First, the investigated path coefficients Path coefficients are linear regression weights expressing the causal linkage between statistical variables in the structural equation modeling approach. External links and references
The null hypothesis null hypothesis,
n theoretical assumption that a given therapy will have results not statistically different from another treatment.
n that the influence of RiskH on Intent was the same for all the three groups was rejected at the 0.001 significance level (chi-square=22.09, p<0.001). For the control group, one standard unit change in RiskH resulted in a 0.21 standard unit decrease in Intent (p=0.046). For the dissonance-appearance group, one standard unit increase in RiskH resulted in a 0.25 standard unit decrease in Intent (p=0.003). In contrast, for the dissonance-health group, one standard unit increase in RiskH resulted in 0.30 standard unit increase in Intent (p<0.001).
The hypothesis stating an equal effect of RiskA on Intent for the three groups was also rejected at 0.05 significance level (chi-square=8.70, p=0.013). For the control group, one standard unit increase in RiskA resulted in a 0.29 standard unit increase in Intent (p=0.006). For the dissonance-health group, one standard unit increase in RiskA resulted in 0.40 standard unit increase in Intent (p<0.001). In the dissonance-appearance group, one standard unit increase in RiskA resulted in a 0.63 standard unit increase in Intent (p<0.001).
SUMMARY OF FINDINGS
The study found that the treatment strategies did not influence the intention of the participants, and did not influence their risk perceptions in terms of health and appearance respectively; however, the treatment strategies did influence the relationship between risk perceptions and intention. For the dissonance-health group, RiskH had a positive relationship, but for the dissonance-appearance and control groups, RiskH had a negative relationship with Intent. Moreover, RiskA had the largest effect on Intent in the dissonance-appearance group.
INTERPRETATION OF FINDINGS
Even though the presence of dissonance had little direct effect on intention, the effect of self-reported risk on intention was found to be statistically and practically significant. Further analysis using structural equation modeling techniques revealed two especially interesting findings related to the effect of perceived risk on intention across the three treatment groups.
The relationship between risk for diminished appearance and intention to engage in healthier behaviors was different for each treatment group, with the dissonance-appearance group having the highest correlation between risk for diminished appearance and intention to engage in healthier behaviors. In this study, this particular finding lends credence to the idea that young people are more likely to question their health behaviors when they are made to feel at risk for a diminished physical appearance because of their unhealthy behaviors. Perhaps diet and physical activity interventions targeted at young people should be construed in the same way as the photo-aging UV intervention discussed earlier (Mahler et al., 2003). Just as Mahler and colleagues made individuals feel at risk for skin deterioration de·te·ri·o·ra·tion
The process or condition of becoming worse. due to prolonged pro·long
tr.v. pro·longed, pro·long·ing, pro·longs
1. To lengthen in duration; protract.
2. To lengthen in extent. sun exposure, so to should health promotion specialists make young people aware of the detrimental physical appearance consequences of improper eating patterns and sedentary behavior. By making young people aware of the negative appearance repercussions repercussions npl → répercussions fpl
repercussions npl → Auswirkungen pl that will ultimately result from unhealthy eating and inactivity, perceptions of self-risk may become elevated and intentions to change health behaviors may become greater.
The relationship between risk for health problems resulting from health behaviors and intention to engage in healthier behaviors was different for each treatment group, with the control group having no statistically significant correlation, the dissonance-appearance group having a statistically significant negative correlation, and the dissonance-health group having a statistically significant positive correlation. While the three treatment groups displayed the same mean level of risk, the effect risk had on intention was different for the three groups. The effect of risk on intention to become healthier was very treatment specific. In regards to health, an effect of this magnitude may only be replicated when individuals are specifically made to feel dissonant dis·so·nant
1. Harsh and inharmonious in sound; discordant.
2. Being at variance; disagreeing.
3. Music Constituting or producing a dissonance. about their health, excluding any other aspect of their life.
The finding related to health risk was exclusive to participants in the dissonance-health group, with the opposite effect occurring among those in the dissonance-appearance group. It is possible that when young people are not asked to consider the health implications of their health behaviors, they are less likely to view risk for health problems as relevant to their own life schematic A graphical representation of a system. It often refers to electronic circuits on a printed circuit board or in an integrated circuit (chip). See logic gate and HDL. . While individuals in the dissonance-appearance group may have felt a high risk for health problems, they were not made to feel dissonant about their health behaviors, so they did not report greater intentions to engage in healthier behaviors. Even though health risk levels may have been high for those subjected to the dissonance-appearance condition, the participants in this group were not challenged to consider the disjoint dis·joint
To put out of joint; dislocate. between attitude and behavior related to their health, which may have made any association between risk and intention negative.
Evaluating the diet and exercise behaviors of students before presenting them with questions on risk and worry may have also been beneficial. The presence of too many students, within the study, adhering to proper diet and exercise recommendations could have caused biased results. Those participants feeling satisfied with their current diet and physical activity habits may have not felt the need to cognitively examine their behaviors. By having participants complete a pre-trial diet and exercise inventory, separate from the remainder of the questionnaire (regarding risk, worry and intention), the research design would be better able to identify unhealthy participants most vulnerable to the dissonance treatment. After the initial diet and physical activty inventory took place, then the questionnaires on risk, worry, and intention could have been distributed to at-risk individuals. Participants who exhibited sub-standard diet and physical activty behaviors would then have the greatest likelihood of being susceptible to the dissonance manipulation. The scope of the study would then be specifically targeting "unhealthy" college students.
In addition, the population of this study constituted a small convenience sample of college students which limits the generalizability of the results to all college students. The students in the study self-selected to enroll in the personal health course, which was a course required for students completing an undergraduate degree “First degree” redirects here. For the BBC television series, see First Degree.
An undergraduate degree (sometimes called a first degree or simply a degree in health education. Perhaps these students were more inclined to monitor their health behaviors more closely, which could have had an impact on the results. Future studies should include a larger number of randomly selected participants. However, our study still provided some insight about the effect of cognitive dissonance on college students' intention to improve diet and physical activity behaviors. Also, there are the ethical considerations of making college students (especially female) cognizant cog·ni·zant
Fully informed; conscious. See Synonyms at aware.
Adj. 1. of detrimental appearance consequences of health behavior. Females prone to eating disorders eating disorders, in psychology, disorders in eating patterns that comprise four categories: anorexia nervosa, bulimia, rumination disorder, and pica. Anorexia nervosa is characterized by self-starvation to avoid obesity. or body dismorphia may not respond positively to this type of appearance based treatment.
Utilizing the Theory of Cognitive Dissonance to elicit positive health behavior change Behavior change refers to any transformation or modification of human behavior. Such changes can occur intentionally, through behavior modification, without intention, or change rapidly in situations of mental illness. in future interventions could be useful in improving the diet and physical activity behaviors of college students. More importantly, making college students feel greater levels of risk for a diminished physical appearance may positively effect their intentions to change their diet and physical activty behaviors. However, making college students feel greater levels of risk for health problems associated with diet and exercise behaviors may have little affect on their intentions to change health behaviors. Interventions designed to emphasize the effect of health behaviors on appearance may be appropriate for certain populations of college students.
The lead author wishes to thank members of the 2006 Society of Public Health Education Awards Committee for awarding this manuscript with the distinction of Graduate Student Paper of the Year.
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Of, relating to, or constituting a precaution: taking precautionary measures; gave precautionary advice.
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RESPONSIBILITIES AND COMPETENCIES OF HEALTH EDUCATION
Responsibility I--Assessing Individual and Community Needs for Health Education Competency COMPETENCY, evidence. The legal fitness or ability of a witness to be heard on the trial of a cause. This term is also applied to written or other evidence which may be legally given on such trial, as, depositions, letters, account-books, and the like.
2. A: Obtain health related data about social and cultural environments, growth and development factors, needs, and interests Competency D: Determine factors that influence learning and development
Michael Stellefson, MS, is a Doctoral Candidate in the Department of Health and Kinesiology kinesiology
Study of the mechanics and anatomy of human movement and their roles in promoting health and reducing disease. Kinesiology has direct applications to fitness and health, including developing exercise programs for people with and without disabilities, preserving at Texas A&M University. Zhongmiao Wang, PhD, is affiliated with the Department of Educational Psychology at Texas A&M University. William Klein, PhD, is an Associate Professor in the Department of Psychology at the University of Pittsburgh. Please address all correspondence to Michael Stellefson, MS, Department of Health and Kinesiology, Texas A&M University, MS 4243, 166 Read Building, College Station, TX 77843; PHONE: (979) 458-0097; FAX: (979) 862-2672; EMAIL See e-mail. : firstname.lastname@example.org.
Table 1. Distribution of Participants Across Conditions Participant Condition Breakdown Condition Number of Participants Percentage (%) Control 41 32.8 Dissonance-Health 45 36 Dissonance-Appearance 40 32 Table 2. Means and Standard Deviations for all the Continuous Variables in Each Group (n = 48 words) Standard Group Variable Mean Deviation Dissonance- Risk perception of health 2.71 1.30 Health Risk perception of appearance 4.14 1.82 Worry about health 3.01 1.42 Worry about appearance 4.06 1.98 Intention to exercise and 4.01 0.77 eat well Dissonance- Risk perception of health 2.42 1.23 Appearance Risk perception of appearance 3.42 1.92 Worry about health 2.74 1.45 Worry about appearance 3.42 2.02 Intention to exercise and 3.92 0.94 eat well Control Risk perception of health 2.70 1.13 Risk perception of appearance 3.80 1.53 Worry about health 3.16 1.24 Worry about appearance 3.78 1.52 Intention to exercise and 3.93 0.86 eat well Overall Risk perception of health 2.62 1.22 Risk perception of appearance 3.81 1.78 Worry about health 2.98 1.38 Worry about appearance 3.77 1.86 Intention to exercise and 3.96 0.85 eat well Table 3. Corrected Covariance Matrix and Correlation Matrix RiskH RiskA WorryH WorryA Intent 1.13 RiskH (1.00) 0.91 ** 2.67 RiskA (0.52) (1.00) 1.22 ** 1.44 ** 1.43 WorryH (0.96) (0.74) (1.00) 0.83 ** 3.08 ** 1.30 ** 3.13 WorryA (0.44) (1.07) (0.61) (1.00) 0.13 0.50 ** 0.25 * 0.51 ** 0.52 Intention (0.17) (0.42) (0.29) (0.39) (1.00) Note: 1. Numbers in parenthesis are correlation coefficients. 2. ** p<0.01, * p<0.05 3. RiskH = Risk for negative health outcomes RiskA = Risk for negative appearance outcomes WorryH = Worry for negative health outcomes WorryA = Worry for negative appearance outcomes Table 4. Corrected Covariance Matrix for Each Group RiskH RiskA WorryH WorryA Intent Dissonance-Health RiskH 1.26 RiskA 0.94 2.84 WorryH 1.40 1.48 1.65 WorryA 0.78 3.27 1.15 3.63 Intent 0.36 0.60 0.36 0.58 0.42 Dissonance-Appearance RiskH 0.98 RiskA 0.84 2.90 WorryH 1.17 1.57 1.54 WorryA 0.80 3.77 1.55 3.53 Intent 0.05 0.70 0.26 0.74 0.69 Control RiskH 1.13 RiskA 0.88 2.14 WorryH 1.06 1.25 1.10 WorryA 0.85 2.14 1.18 2.13 Intent -0.04 0.18 0.12 0.20 0.50 Note: 1. RiskH = Risk for negative health outcomes RiskA = Risk for negative appearance outcomes WorryH = Worry for negative health outcomes WorryA = Worry for negative appearance outcomes