Predicting sugar consumption: Application of an integrated dual-process, dual-phase model
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Excess consumption of added dietary sugars is related to multiple metabolic problems and adverse health conditions. Identifying the modifiable social cognitive and motivational constructs that predict sugar consumption is important to inform behavioral interventions aimed at reducing sugar intake. We tested the efficacy of an integrated dual-process, dual-phase model derived from multiple theories to predict sugar consumption. Using a prospective design, university students (NÂ =Â 90) completed initial measures of the reflective (autonomous and controlled motivation, intentions, attitudes, subjective norm, perceived behavioral control), impulsive (implicit attitudes), volitional (action and coping planning), and behavioral (past sugar consumption) components of the proposed model. Self-reported sugar consumption was measured two weeks later. A structural equation model revealed that intentions, implicit attitudes, and, indirectly, autonomous motivation to reduce sugar consumption had small, significant effects on sugar consumption. Attitudes, subjective norm, and, indirectly, autonomous motivation to reduce sugar consumption predicted intentions. There were no effects of the planning constructs. Model effects were independent of the effects of past sugar consumption. The model identified the relative contribution of reflective and impulsive components in predicting sugar consumption. Given the prominent role of the impulsive component, interventions that assist individuals in managing cues-to-action and behavioral monitoring are likely to be effective in regulating sugar consumption.
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