Background: In order to improve the transition from an intention to a change in health behaviour, action planning is a frequently used behavioural change method. The quality of action plans in terms of instrumentality and specificity is important in terms of supporting a successful change in health behaviour. Until now, little has been known about the predictors of action plan generation and the predictors of high quality action plans and, therefore, the current study investigates these predictors. Method: A randomised controlled trial was conducted to improve physical activity (PA) and fruit and vegetable (FV) consumption using a web-based computer tailored intervention. During the 8-week intervention period, participants in the intervention arm (n = 346) were guided (step-by-step) to generate their own action plans to improve their health behaviours. Demographic characteristics, social cognitions, and health behaviour were assessed at baseline by means of self-reporting. Whether participants generated action plans was tracked by means of server registrations within two modules of the intervention. Results: The action planning component of the intervention regarding physical activity and fruit and vegetable consumption was used by 40.9 and 20.7 % of the participants, respectively. We found that participants who were physically active at baseline were less likely to generate action plans concerning physical activity. With regards to generating fruit and vegetable action plans, participants with a high risk perception and a strong intention to eat fruit and vegetables on a daily basis made more use of the action planning component for this behaviour. Finally, the large majority of the action plans for physical activity (96.6 %) and fruit and vegetable consumption (100 %) were instrumental and about half of the action plans were found to be highly specific (PA = 69.6 %/FV = 59.7 %). The specificity of the action plans is associated with having a relationship and low levels of negative outcome expectancies.
Research Areas and Centers
- Research Area: Center for Population Medicine and Public Health (ZBV)