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Title: Affective and cognitive influences on health behaviour using the theory of planned behaviour
Author: Morris, Benjamin Jacob
ISNI:       0000 0004 2740 593X
Awarding Body: University of Leeds
Current Institution: University of Leeds
Date of Award: 2011
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Affect is a term used to embrace the experience of emotions and feelings often contrasted, yet not entirely distinct from, conative and cognitive experience. Prominent social cognition models propose that behaviour is as a result of a deliberative process (Theory of Planned Behaviour, Ajzen, 1991; Health Belief Model, Becker, 1974). The extent to which affect, a rich and compelling source of information, is used in guiding cognitive processing or indeed having direct effects on behaviour, when making decisions of health and risk could be better understood. There is a wealth of correlational evidence beginning to indicate such a role for affect, distinct from and as a mediator of cognitive information processing. However, the often complex nature of this relationship has not been fully assessed experimentally. A series of studies assessed the impact of affective-based and cognitive-based messages in changing physical activity (PA) and binge drinking (BD). In studies 1A and 1 B the impact of affective and cognitive messages in changing PA was assessed (with one comparing images and another not comparing images). Studies 2A and 2B assessed the impact of affective and cognitive messages, framed in terms of proximal or distal consequences. One used messages focusing upon the positive consequences of engaging in PA, whereas the other used messages that focused upon the negative consequences of engaging in BD. Messages focusing upon the affective consequences of PA are shown to enhance levels of PA (studies 1A &1 B) and in study 2A the affective-based message functioned better when framed in terms of the short term consequences of behaviour. Additionally individuals high in need for affect (NfA) are shown to increase their levels of PA more so following an affective message in study 1 B. Studies 3 and 4 compared the effect of affective and cognitive messages in changing PA when behaviour is measured objectively. In study 3 messages were delivered via mobile phone, whereas in study 4 messages were delivered as in previous studies, with the addition of a self-affirmation induction. In study 3, individuals high in NfA responded most positively to. the affective- based message for total walking and total walking and running. In study 4, there were no significant differences between message types. Study 5 compared affective proximally valenced and affective distally valenced messages preceded by a self- affirmation seed, in reducing BD. For individuals high in need for cognition (NfC) an affective message was shown to increase BD and total alcohol units. Thus the broad findings of the present work indicate the value of affective messages in changing PA and BD, a number of specific issues are discussed in order to explain certain anomalous findings, and stress the potential difficulties in using affective messages to change behaviour
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available