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The impact of self-affirmation on health-related cognition and health behaviour: Issues and prospects

Harris, Peter R and Epton, Tracy (2010) The impact of self-affirmation on health-related cognition and health behaviour: Issues and prospects. Social and Personality Psychology Compass, 4 (7). pp. 439-454. ISSN 1751-9004


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In a recent paper (Harris & Epton, 2009) we reviewed the evidence showing that self-affirming – the act of reflecting upon cherished values or attributes – can reduce resistance to health-risk information. In this companion paper we extend the discussion of issues arising from that review and describe key questions for future research. Overall, we regard the picture emerging from this nascent literature as encouraging. Nevertheless, more needs to be discovered about how self-affirming achieves its effects and their limits. Despite lowering an important barrier to health behaviour change by reducing message resistance, there is currently only limited evidence that self-affirming changes subsequent health behaviour. We consider why. We also discuss issues to address in interventions involving self-affirmation and examine evidence that self-affirming alters relationships between variables. There is also scope for extending the range of samples, health information, and health behaviours examined and for assessing more spontaneous self-affirmation.

Item Type: Article
Keywords: self-affirmation, health behaviour, risk perception,
Institution: The University of Sheffield
Academic Units: The University of Sheffield > Faculty of Science (Sheffield) > Department of Psychology (Sheffield)
Depositing User: Professor Peter R. Harris
Date Deposited: 23 Jun 2011 17:20
Last Modified: 04 Jun 2014 14:04
Published Version: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1751-9004.2010.00270.x
Status: Published
Publisher: Wiley
Refereed: Yes
Identification Number: 10.1111/j.1751-9004.2010.00270.x
Related URLs:
URI: http://eprints.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/43100

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