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The more the better? the number of plans predicts health behaviour change


Wiedemann, AU and Lippke, S and Reuter, T and Ziegelmann, JP and Schuez, BEC, The more the better? the number of plans predicts health behaviour change, Applied Psychology: Health and Well-Being, 3, (1) pp. 87-106. ISSN 1758-0846 (2011) [Refereed Article]

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The definitive published version is available online at:

DOI: doi:10.1111/j.1758-0854.2010.01042.x


Background: Planning has been found to support behaviour change. How well planning interventions translate into behaviour change might vary according to the number of plans and baseline levels of behaviour. This study tested effects of the number of action plans and coping plans at two stages of change in physical activity, i.e. in motivated, less active persons (intenders) and active individuals (actors).

Methods: Participants were 560 employees of a logistics service company who specified up to three action plans and coping plans or completed an active control intervention. Change in physical activity was measured 4 weeks later. Direct and indirect effects of baseline stage and number of action plans and coping plans were tested by variance analyses and regression procedures.

Results: Intenders generated more action plans than actors, but stage groups did not differ regarding coping plans. Intervention effects on activity were strongest in intenders and those who specified more plans (two action plans, or three coping plans). The number of action plans mediated between baseline stage (intenders vs. actors) and changes in activity.

Conclusions: The study underlines the effectiveness of action plans and coping plans, particularly in less active individuals. It further suggests identifying the optimum number of plans required to attain a satisfactory behaviour change.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:baseline by treatment, mediation, physical activity, planning,
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:75115
Year Published:2011
Web of Science® Times Cited:38
Deposited By:Psychology
Deposited On:2012-01-10
Last Modified:2017-11-03
Downloads:8 View Download Statistics

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