More Than Just the Cognitive Discrepancy!

April 28, 2014 (old blog)

Lately I’ve been focusing my blogging energy on creating a cognitive discrepancy and how this may influence parents’ intentions to change children’s lifestyle behaviours. Let’s switch gears and think more globally… what else may influence parents’ intentions to change, and what is RIPPLE doing about these factors?

Good question.

For those of you who aren’t familiar with theories of behaviour change, you should know there are a number that highlight intention as the mediator between various constructs (e.g., attitude) and behaviour. Take the Theory of Planned Behaviour (TPB; Azjen, 1985); TPB suggests that attitude (one’s overall positive or negative evaluation of the behaviour), subjective norms (one’s beliefs about how significant others perceive their actions and behaviours), andperceived behavioural control (one’s perception if they are capable of performing the behaviour) are constructs which influence intention, and this specific intention is said to influence behaviour under volitional control.

For example, let’s say Wanda’s target behaviour is to ride her bike three times a week for half an hour. Now, if Wanda’s attitude toward the behaviour is relatively positive, if she believes her significant others think she should engage in the behaviour, and if she feels capable of performing the behaviour, then the TPB would suggest that her intention to perform the behaviour is strengthened and this will influence performance of the actual behaviour accordingly.

Given that I’ve provided you with some background on what else may influence intention to change, you may wonder how these things are all measured; how can we tease apart the different factors and see which is the most influential? I’ll save that answer for next week, but just to whet your appetite, it’s important to know that not only are we are measuring parents’ cognitive discrepancies, but other constructs as well using a measure informed by two theories and one model – the Theory of Planned Behaviour, Health Belief Model, and Motivational Interviewing.

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