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Positive change for wellbeing: Maintained intervention-induced behaviors and healthier lifestyles
Karlstad University, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences (starting 2013), Service Research Center (from 2013). Karlstad University, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences (starting 2013), Department of Social and Psychological Studies (from 2013).ORCID iD: 0009-0002-9764-0110
2023 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Lifestyle behaviors such as increased private car use, stress, low physical activity, and unhealthy eating negatively affect individual and global health, environment and economy. We must change behavior, not only to decrease suffering and economical costs, but to promote wellbeing for flourishing human beings on a living planet. It may not be simple to change ingrained behaviors. Nevertheless, with aid from interventions, the success rate for behavioral change is high, yet not automatically lasting. Despite growing harm, and that brief change generates brief effects, research on maintained intervention-induced behavior is scarce. Due to this research gap, this thesis aims to broaden understanding of psychological mechanisms involved in health- and lifestyle-related intervention-induced behavior and maintenance and suggest potential development for intervention initiators and participants. The aim is approached through three field studies: Study I uses a quantitative approach to investigate motives for intervention participation, as well as psychological mechanisms in early phases of behavior adoption, in relation to immediate behavior change in a travel-intervention setting using incentives. Study II uses a quantitative approach to investigate psychological mechanisms in adopting and maintaining behavior in a mandatory, wellbeing intervention setting. Study III uses a mixed-methods approach to investigate psychological mechanisms on a deeper level, in a fee-based lifestyle intervention. For maintained intervention-induced behavioral change, the main findings indicate the importance of: Focusing on behavior goals; undergoing positive experiences during an intervention; experiencing gains from immediate outcomes; and learning to apply a flexible approach that meets shifting conditions and responses through the different intervention phases.

Abstract [en]

Lifestyle behaviors such as increased private car use, stress, low physical activity, and unhealthy eating negatively affect individual and global health, environment and economy. We must change, not only to decrease suffering and economical costs, but to promote wellbeing for flourishing human beings on a living planet. It is not simple to change ingrained behaviors, but the success rate for behavior change interventions is high, yet not automatically lasting. Despite growing problems and brief change generating brief effects, research on maintained intervention-induced behavior is scarce. Due to this research gap, this thesis aims to broaden understanding of psychological mechanisms involved in maintained lifestyle-related intervention-induced behavior and suggest potential development for initiators and participants. This aim is approached through three field studies involving travel behavior, wellbeing activities, physical activity and healthy eating. 

For maintained intervention-induced behavior change, the main findings imply the importance of: Focusing on behavior goals; undergoing positive experiences during an intervention; experiencing gains from immediate outcomes; and learning to apply a flexible approach meeting shifting conditions throughout the intervention phases.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Karlstad: Karlstads universitet, 2023. , p. 50
Series
Karlstad University Studies, ISSN 1403-8099 ; 2023:10
Keywords [en]
maintained, behavioral change, intervention, wellbeing, health, lifestyle
National Category
Applied Psychology
Research subject
Psychology
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:kau:diva-94004ISBN: 978-91-7867-362-9 (print)ISBN: 978-91-7867-363-6 (electronic)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:kau-94004DiVA, id: diva2:1745579
Public defence
2023-05-12, Agardhsalen, 11D 257, Karlstads universitet, Karlstad, 13:00 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2023-04-21 Created: 2023-03-23 Last updated: 2023-04-21Bibliographically approved
List of papers
1. Importance of motives, self-efficacy, social support and satisfaction with travel for behavior change during travel intervention programs
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Importance of motives, self-efficacy, social support and satisfaction with travel for behavior change during travel intervention programs
2019 (English)In: Transportation Research Part F: Traffic Psychology and Behaviour, ISSN 1369-8478, E-ISSN 1873-5517, Vol. 62, p. 451-458Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

The present field study investigates the reduction of car use through a voluntary travelbehavior intervention program that provides participants with temporary free publictransportation. Three factors – self-efficacy, social support and satisfaction – have previ-ously been shown to be important for behavior change during physical activity interven-tion programs. In travel behavior interventions, however, these factors have often beenstudied individually and less is known about their combined effects on travel behaviorchange. Furthermore, while motives for participating in travel behavior interventions havebeen frequently studied within travel behavior interventions research, there is a lack ofstudies investigating the influence of motives on travel behavior change. To better under-stand the importance of different motives as well as the importance of self-efficacy, socialsupport, and satisfaction with travel on behavior change, a series of surveys were admin-istered to 181 participants before, during, and after their participation in a voluntary travelbehavior intervention. The results show that greater self-efficacy and social support duringthe intervention led to greater travel behavior change. These results indicate that in orderto gain better results from travel behavior interventions, individuals should be helped toincrease their travel-related self-efficacy, and significant others should be involved to pro-vide social support. We discuss possible ways of accomplishing this.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Elsevier, 2019
National Category
Psychology
Research subject
Psychology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kau:diva-71179 (URN)10.1016/j.trf.2019.02.002 (DOI)000468709800034 ()
Available from: 2019-02-19 Created: 2019-02-19 Last updated: 2023-06-20Bibliographically approved
2. Increasing Students' Long-Term Well-Being by Mandatory Intervention: A Positive Psychology Field Study
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Increasing Students' Long-Term Well-Being by Mandatory Intervention: A Positive Psychology Field Study
2020 (English)In: Frontiers in Psychology, E-ISSN 1664-1078, Vol. 11, article id 553764Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Is it possible to help students experience increased well-being that proceeds by volitional actions from mandatory participation in interventions? The aim of this field study was to better understand the influence of expectancy, motivation, and well-being experiences during a positive activity intervention on long-term behavior change and long-term well-being. The study included 59 students enrolled in a course that included choosing a positive activity that they would plan for and implement in their lives for 6 weeks. The participants answered questionnaires before (pre-measure) and after the intervention (short-term measure), as well as an unannounced follow-up questionnaire 6 months later (long-term measure). Overall, the results indicate the importance of coexisting intrinsic motivation and high expectancy in the outcome and that the key driver of sustained volitional behavior change and experiencing long-term increased well-being is to experience increased well-being during the intervention. The results of the study show that it is possible to help students experience increased well-being that proceeds by volitional actions. The study shows that a mandatory positive activity intervention, including free choice of activity and course of action, can induce new long-term behaviors and long-term increased well-being.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Frontiers Media S.A., 2020
Keywords
students, long-term, well-being, change, positive activity intervention, positive psychology
National Category
Psychology Other Social Sciences
Research subject
Psychology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kau:diva-81222 (URN)10.3389/fpsyg.2020.553764 (DOI)000581040100001 ()2-s2.0-85094147591 (Scopus ID)
Available from: 2020-11-05 Created: 2020-11-05 Last updated: 2023-06-20Bibliographically approved
3. Maintaining or Losing Intervention-Induced Health-Related Behavior Change.: A Mixed Methods Field Study
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Maintaining or Losing Intervention-Induced Health-Related Behavior Change.: A Mixed Methods Field Study
2021 (English)In: Frontiers in Psychology, E-ISSN 1664-1078, Vol. 12, article id 688192Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

The aim of this mixed methods field study was to gain a better understanding of how psychological factors can contribute to success in intervention-induced behavior change over time. While it can be difficult to change behavior, the use of interventions means that most participants succeed in change during the intervention. However, it is rare for the immediate change to automatically transform into maintained behavior changes. Most research conducted on health-related behavior change interventions contains quantitative studies that investigate key intervention components on a group level. Hence, to bring more knowledge about maintained intervention-induced behavior change, there is need for a study approach that enhances the understanding of individual participants' experiences during and after the intervention. Therefore, the present study, which was conducted in Sweden, used a mixed methods design (triangulation) consisting of pre-, post-, and follow-up quantitative data (questionnaires and body measurements) and qualitative data (interviews), where the individuals' accounts are used to broaden the understanding of the intervention and the behavior change process. All study participants were enrolled in a volitional (fee-based and non-manipulated) intervention given by certified gyms. The quantitative data collection included 22 participants who completed questionnaires and body measurements before and after the intervention, plus 13 complete body measurements 6 months after the intervention. The qualitative data included pre-interviews with 12 participants and six follow-up-interviews. The questions in both questionnaires and interviews related to expectations, efficacy, motivation, goals, achievements, behavior change, and future. Overall, the results show that levels of expectations, efficacy, and motivation cannot be used in isolation to predict maintained intervention-induced behavior change. To successfully extend and maintain immediate change, it was crucial to experience goal achievement (but not BMI change). Furthermore, enabling talk was salient in the pre-interviews with participants reporting successful immediate (and maintained) change. By contrast, pre-interview disabling talk turned out to be evident in interviews, with participants not responding to follow-up. When the qualitative and quantitative results are summarized and integrated, it appears that subjective goal achievement, combined with enabling self-talk, were crucial factors in successful maintained behavior change.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Frontiers Media S.A., 2021
Keywords
health-related change, motivation, goal achievement, eating behavior, physical activity, intervention-induced change, maintained change
National Category
Public Health, Global Health, Social Medicine and Epidemiology Sport and Fitness Sciences
Research subject
Sports Science
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kau:diva-85545 (URN)10.3389/fpsyg.2021.688192 (DOI)000668931000001 ()34220651 (PubMedID)2-s2.0-85109067717 (Scopus ID)
Available from: 2021-08-05 Created: 2021-08-05 Last updated: 2023-06-20Bibliographically approved

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