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Self-affirmation facilitates adaptive cognition and behaviur changes in multimorbid elderly adults


Schuez, BEC and Wurm, S and Warner, LM and Ziegelmann, JP, Self-affirmation facilitates adaptive cognition and behaviur changes in multimorbid elderly adults, Psychology & Health, 1 - 4 September 2010, Cluj-Napoca, Romania, pp. 102. ISSN 0887-0446 (2010) [Conference Extract]


Objectives:Multimorbidity (multiple illnesses) is a frequent condition in older adults and poses serious threats to health, autonomy and quality of life. Changes in health cognitions and health behaviours have been found to be beneficial, but only few actually manage to change. The disposition to affirm the self-system in the face of threats might constitute a resource enabling multimorbid individuals to adaptively respond to health deteriorations instead of resorting to defensive reactions such as maladaptive attributions or denial.

Methods: 309 multimorbid individuals (age 65+ years) filled in three questionnaires over 6 months assessing health cognitions (risk perception, outcome expectations, behaviour change intentions), health status and health behaviours (physical activity, nutrition). Hierarchical regression analyses were used to detect moderation effects of self-affirmation in predicting cognition and behaviour changes from health changes.

Results: Self-affirmation interacted with health changes in predicting changes in both health cognitions and health behaviours (e.g. for nutrition: self-affirmation * health changes β = 0.37, p < 0.01).

Conclusions: A disposition to affirm the self-system when faced with threats prevents defensive reactions to health deteriorations and promotes adaptive cognition and behaviour changes. This points to an important role of self-affirmation in health behaviour change, especially in risk groups such as older people with multimorbidity.

Item Details

Item Type:Conference Extract
Keywords:self-affirmation, sun protection
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:Schuez, BEC (Dr Benjamin Schuez)
ID Code:78028
Year Published:2010
Deposited By:Psychology
Deposited On:2012-06-12
Last Modified:2013-01-11

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