Title

It's for Their Health: Encouraging Autonomy During Emerging Adulthood

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

Spring 2020

Abstract

Improving health behaviors, especially among emerging adults, is no easy task. The present research sought to develop an intervention to improve health behavior by harnessing emerging adults’ desire for autonomy. Ninety-one participants between the ages of 18 and 25 years (M = 19.36 years) were randomly assigned to a control condition (n = 43) or an experimental condition (n = 48) in which they described ways in which they, rather than others, were in control of their health. We hypothesized that, compared to those in the control condition, those in the experimental condition would feel more in control of their health and make healthier food and drink choices when presented with a variety of options. Results indicated that postintervention internal health locus of control scores did not differ between those in the experimental and control conditions. However, there was an effect of the intervention on snack choice such that those in the experimental condition selected significantly fewer unhealthy snacks than those in the control condition, t(89) = -2.02, p = .046. These results suggest that encouraging emerging adults to think about ways in which they are in control of their health may translate into healthier food-related behaviors.

Comments

This article was originally published in Psi Chi Journal of Pscychological Research, volume 25, issue 1, in 2020. https://doi.org/10.24839/2325-7342.JN25.1.54

Copyright

PSI CHI, THE INTERNATIONAL HONOR SOCIETY IN PSYCHOLOGY

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