Annals of Behavioral Medicine

, Volume 42, Issue 2, pp 174–187

A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis of Applications of the Self-Report Habit Index to Nutrition and Physical Activity Behaviours

  • Benjamin Gardner
  • Gert-Jan de Bruijn
  • Phillippa Lally
Original Article

DOI: 10.1007/s12160-011-9282-0

Cite this article as:
Gardner, B., de Bruijn, GJ. & Lally, P. ann. behav. med. (2011) 42: 174. doi:10.1007/s12160-011-9282-0



Health behaviour models typically neglect habitual action. The Self-Report Habit Index (SRHI) permits synthesis of evidence of the influence of habit on behaviour.


The purpose of this study is to review evidence around mean habit strength, habit–behaviour correlations, and habit × intention interactions, from applications of the SRHI to dietary, physical activity, and active travel behaviour.


Electronic database searches identified 126 potentially relevant papers. Twenty-two papers (21 datasets) passed eligibility screening. Mean scores and correlations were meta-analysed using fixed, random and mixed effects, and interactions were synthesised via narrative review.


Twenty-three habit–behaviour correlations and nine habit × intention interaction tests were found. Typical habit strength was located around the SRHI midpoint. Weighted habit–behaviour effects were medium-to-strong (fixed: r+ = 0.44; random: r+ = 0.46). Eight tests found that habit moderated the intention–behaviour relation.


More comprehensive understanding of nutrition and activity behaviours will be achieved by accounting for habitual responses to contextual cues.



Supplementary material

12160_2011_9282_MOESM1_ESM.doc (62 kb)
Supplementary table. Mixed effect meta-analysis: methodological characteristics as potential moderators of habit–behaviour effects (N = 6173†; k = 23) (DOC 62 kb)

Copyright information

© The Society of Behavioral Medicine 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Benjamin Gardner
    • 1
  • Gert-Jan de Bruijn
    • 2
  • Phillippa Lally
    • 1
  1. 1.Health Behaviour Research CentreUniversity College LondonLondonUK
  2. 2.Amsterdam School of Communication ResearchUniversity of AmsterdamAmsterdamThe Netherlands