Prompts to regulate emotions improve the impact of health messages on eating intentions and behavior
The current study examined the effect of emotion regulation prompts on obesity-related behavioral intentions and food choices in a sample of undergraduate students. Prior to reading a pamphlet regarding obesity-related health concerns and healthy food choices, participants were prompted to regulate their emotions or no prompt was given. Study 1 investigated differences in health behavior intentions and perception of risk of obesity-related health concerns. Study 2 examined differences in meal choices from a menu. Finally, Study 3 examined differences in food choices between participants prompted to attend, regulate emotions, or no prompt. Participants prompted to regulate their emotions were more likely to report intentions to follow a healthier diet and perceive a greater likelihood of health concerns, select health food options from a presented menu. and select a healthier food choice from presented options. These findings suggest emotion regulation strategies may be beneficial to increase awareness of perceived health risks as well as encourage healthier lifestyle choices among college students.
KeywordsEmotion regulation Obesity Health behaviors Health intentions
The authors would also like to thank the Emotion and Motivation lab for data collection and entry, particularly Sarah Flores.
Compliance with ethical standards
Conflict of interest
All authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.
All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.
Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.
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