The impact of self-affirmation on health-behavior change: A meta-analysis

T. Epton, P.R. Harris, R Kane, G.M. van Koningsbruggen, P. Sheeran

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Objectives: Self-affirmation (induced by reflecting upon important values, attributes, or social relations) appears to reduce defensive resistance to health-risk information and increase subsequent readiness for health behavior change. However, these effects of self-affirmation have yet to be subjected to formal, quantitative integration. Consequently, the current article reports a meta-analysis of the impact of self-affirmation on outcomes at 3 key points in the process of health-behavior change: (a) message acceptance, (b) intentions to change, and (c) subsequent behavior. Method: The literature search identified 144 experimental tests of the effects of manipulating self-affirmation on these outcomes. Effect sizes were extracted and meta-analyzed. Results: Across 34 tests of message acceptance (N = 3,433), 64 tests of intentions (N = 5,564), and 46 tests of behavior (N = 2,715), random effects models indicated small but reliable positive effects of self-affirmation on each outcome: acceptance, d
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)187-196
JournalHealth Psychology
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2015


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