Self-affirmation and self-control: Counteracting defensive processing of health information and facilitating health behavior change

G.M. van Koningsbruggen, E. Miles, P.R. Harris

Research output: Chapter in Book / Report / Conference proceedingChapterAcademicpeer-review

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Abstract

This chapter considers the problem of responding adaptively to health-risk information from a self-control perspective, and discusses how a simple intervention – self-affirmation – could facilitate self-control and subsequent health-behavior change in response to the information. It reviews research demonstrating that self-affirmation can counteract defensive processing of health information, describes mechanisms potentially underlying these effects and also discusses how self-affirmation may facilitate subsequent health-behavior change. Self-affirmation might help people to navigate through tempting environments by facilitating the creation of cognitive associations between temptations and long-term health goals. People who spontaneously think about their long-term health goals upon confrontation with temptations have been found to behave more in line with those goals, while people who lack such temptation–goal associations are less successful in attaining their health goals. The chapter highlights some of the ways through which self-affirmation after reducing defensive responses to health information, may facilitate subsequent health-behavior change.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Routledge International Handbook of Self-Control in Health and Wellbeing
EditorsD. de Ridder, M. Adriaanse, K. Fujita
Place of PublicationNew York
PublisherRoutledge
Chapter39
Pages495-507
Number of pages13
ISBN (Electronic)9781315648576
ISBN (Print)9781138123861
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2018

Publication series

NameRoutledge International Handbooks
PublisherRoutledge

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