The role of habit and perceived behavioural control on health behaviour among pregnant women
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Objective: Many pregnant women do not adhere to physical activity and dietary recommendations. Research investigating what psychological processes might predict physical activity and healthy eating (fruit and vegetable consumption) during pregnancy is scant. We explored the role of intention, habit, and perceived behavioral control as predictors of physical activity and healthy eating. Methods: Pregnant women (N = 195, Mage = 30.17, SDage = 4.46) completed questionnaires at 2 time points. At Time 1, participants completed measures of intention, habit, and perceived behavioral control. At Time 2, participants reported on their behavior (physical activity and healthy eating) within the intervening week. Regression analysis determined whether Time 1 variables predicted behavior at Time 2. Interaction terms also were tested. Results: Final regression models indicated that only intention and habit explained significant variance in physical activity, whereas habit and the interaction between intention and habit explained significant variance in healthy eating. Simple slopes analysis indicated that the relationship between intention and healthy eating behavior was only significant at high levels of habit. Conclusions: Findings highlight the influence of habit on behavior and suggest that automaticity interventions may be useful in changing health behaviors during pregnancy.
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