Evidence that self-affirmation reduces alcohol consumption: Randomized exploratory trial with a new, brief means of self-affirming.

ARMITAGE, Christopher J., HARRIS, Peter R. and ARDEN, Madelynne (2011). Evidence that self-affirmation reduces alcohol consumption: Randomized exploratory trial with a new, brief means of self-affirming. Health Psychology, 30 (5), 633-641.

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Link to published version:: 10.1037/a0023738

Abstract

Objective: To test the ability of a new, brief means of affirming the self (the “self-affirming implementation intention”) to decrease alcohol consumption against a standard means of self-affirmation (the self-affirming “kindness” questionnaire) and an active control condition; to test whether self-affirmation effects can be sustained beyond the experimental session; and to examine potential moderators of the effects. Method: Two hundred seventy-eight participants were randomly allocated to one of three conditions: control questionnaire, self-affirming questionnaire, and self-affirming implementation intention. All participants were exposed to a threatening health message, designed to inform them about the health risks associated with consuming alcohol. Main Outcome Measures: The main outcome measure was subsequent alcohol intake. Results: There were significant public health gains and statistically significant decreases (>1 unit/day) in alcohol consumption in the two experimental conditions but not in the control condition. At the end of the study, participants in the control condition were consuming 2.31 units of alcohol per day; people in the self-affirming questionnaire condition were consuming 1.52 units of alcohol per day; and people in the self-affirming implementation intention condition were consuming 1.53 units of alcohol per day. There were no significant differences between the self-affirming questionnaire and self-affirming implementation intention, and adherence did not moderate the effects. Self-affirmation also improved message processing, increased perceived threat, and led to lower message derogation. Conclusions: The findings support the efficacy of a new, brief self-affirmation manipulation to enhance the effectiveness of health risk information over time. Further research is needed to identify mediators of the effects of self-affirmation on health behavior change

Item Type: Article
Research Institute, Centre or Group: Centre for Health and Social Care Research
Identification Number: 10.1037/a0023738
Depositing User: Helen Garner
Date Deposited: 24 Feb 2012 13:57
Last Modified: 24 Feb 2012 13:57
URI: http://shura.shu.ac.uk/id/eprint/4893

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