Mind the Gap?

An Intensive Longitudinal Study of Between-Person and Within-Person Intention-Behavior Relations

Jennifer Inauen, Patrick E. Shrout, Niall Bolger, Gertraud Stadler, Urte Scholz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

19 Citations (Scopus)
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Abstract

BACKGROUND: Despite their good intentions, people often do not eat healthily. This is known as the intention-behavior gap. Although the intention-behavior relationship is theorized as a within-person process, most evidence is based on between-person differences.

PURPOSE: The purpose of the present study is to investigate the within-person intention-behavior association for unhealthy snack consumption.

METHODS: Young adults (N = 45) participated in an intensive longitudinal study. They reported intentions and snack consumption five times daily for 7 days (n = 1068 observations analyzed).

RESULTS: A within-person unit difference in intentions was associated with a halving of the number of unhealthy snacks consumed in the following 3 h (CI95 27-70 %). Between-person differences in average intentions did not predict unhealthy snack consumption.

CONCLUSIONS: Consistent with theory, the intention-behavior relation for healthy eating is best understood as a within-person process. Interventions to reduce unhealthy snacking should target times of day when intentions are weakest.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)516-522
Number of pages7
JournalAnnals of Behavioral Medicine
Volume50
Issue number4
Early online date22 Jan 2016
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2016

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Longitudinal Studies
Snacks
Young Adult

Keywords

  • intention-behavior gap
  • intraindividual and interindividual associations
  • health behavior
  • snack consumption
  • ecological momentary assessment

Cite this

Mind the Gap? An Intensive Longitudinal Study of Between-Person and Within-Person Intention-Behavior Relations. / Inauen, Jennifer; Shrout, Patrick E.; Bolger, Niall; Stadler, Gertraud; Scholz, Urte.

In: Annals of Behavioral Medicine, Vol. 50, No. 4, 08.2016, p. 516-522.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Inauen, Jennifer ; Shrout, Patrick E. ; Bolger, Niall ; Stadler, Gertraud ; Scholz, Urte. / Mind the Gap? An Intensive Longitudinal Study of Between-Person and Within-Person Intention-Behavior Relations. In: Annals of Behavioral Medicine. 2016 ; Vol. 50, No. 4. pp. 516-522.
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AB - BACKGROUND: Despite their good intentions, people often do not eat healthily. This is known as the intention-behavior gap. Although the intention-behavior relationship is theorized as a within-person process, most evidence is based on between-person differences.PURPOSE: The purpose of the present study is to investigate the within-person intention-behavior association for unhealthy snack consumption.METHODS: Young adults (N = 45) participated in an intensive longitudinal study. They reported intentions and snack consumption five times daily for 7 days (n = 1068 observations analyzed).RESULTS: A within-person unit difference in intentions was associated with a halving of the number of unhealthy snacks consumed in the following 3 h (CI95 27-70 %). Between-person differences in average intentions did not predict unhealthy snack consumption.CONCLUSIONS: Consistent with theory, the intention-behavior relation for healthy eating is best understood as a within-person process. Interventions to reduce unhealthy snacking should target times of day when intentions are weakest.

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