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Be fond of yourself and admit that you're at risk - Self-affirmation helps accepting personalised risk feedback


Mallach, N and Schuez, BEC and Eid, M, Be fond of yourself and admit that you're at risk - Self-affirmation helps accepting personalised risk feedback, Psychology & Health, 1 - 4 September 2010, Cluj-Napoca, Romania, pp. 102. ISSN 0887-0446 (2010) [Conference Extract]

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Objectives: Personalised risk feedback (e.g. UV photography) can motivate health behaviour change. However, risk feedback is not always effective in changing risk perception or behaviour, as individuals try to preserve their self-image by downplaying their risk. Selfaffirmation might palliate such defensive reactions. This study tests whether self-affirmation increases the efficacy of personalised risk feedback. Method: A 22 (UV photo: yes/no, selfaffirmation: yes/no) factorial RCT with 293 participants (mean age: 33 years, 69% female) was employed. Sun exposure and risk perception for skin cancer/premature aging were assessed at baseline and 2 weeks after the intervention. ANCOVAs were used to test hypotheses and mediation effects. Results: Participants receiving risk feedback only reported even more sun exposure and lower risk perception than participants in other groups. Participants receiving the self-affirmation intervention in combination with risk feedback had the highest levels of risk perception and sun protection. The effect of the intervention on behaviour was fully mediated by increased risk perception in the self-affirmation condition. Conclusions: Providing personalised risk feedback is not unconditionally effective, it can even have detrimental effects on behaviour and risk perception. However, if a personís self-image is reaffirmed, risk feedback can be processed adaptively and leads to cognition and behaviour change.

Item Details

Item Type:Conference Extract
Keywords:self-affirmation, health behaviour, health behaviour theory
Research Division:Psychology
Research Group:Clinical and health psychology
Research Field:Health psychology
Objective Division:Health
Objective Group:Public health (excl. specific population health)
Objective Field:Behaviour and health
UTAS Author:Mallach, N (Dr Natalie Schuez)
UTAS Author:Schuez, BEC (Dr Benjamin Schuez)
ID Code:78027
Year Published:2010
Deposited By:Psychology
Deposited On:2012-06-12
Last Modified:2013-03-04

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