Motivation and Emotion

, Volume 42, Issue 2, pp 267–275 | Cite as

Prompts to regulate emotions improve the impact of health messages on eating intentions and behavior

  • Krista Caldwell
  • Sherecce Fields
  • Heather C. Lench
  • Talya Lazerus
Original Paper


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.


Emotion 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.

Ethical approval

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

Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Krista Caldwell
    • 1
  • Sherecce Fields
    • 1
  • Heather C. Lench
    • 1
  • Talya Lazerus
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyTexas A&M UniversityCollege StationUSA
  2. 2.Carnegie Mellon UniversityPittsburghUSA

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