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Towards a theory of intentional behaviour change: Plans, planning, and self-regulation

Lookup NU author(s): Professor Falko Sniehotta


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Purpose. Briefly review the current state of theorizing about volitional behaviour change and identification of challenges and possible solutions for future theory development.Method. Review of the literature and theoretical analysis. Results. Reasoned action theories have made limited contributions to the science of behaviour change as they do not propose means of changing cognitions or account for existing effective behaviour change techniques. Changing beliefs does not guarantee behaviour change. The implementation intentions (IMPs) approach to planning has advanced theorizing but the applications to health behaviours often divert substantially from the IMPs paradigm with regard to interventions, effects, mediators and moderators. Better construct definitions and differentiations are needed to make further progress in integrating theory and understanding behaviour change. Conclusions. Further progress in theorizing can be achieved by (a) disentangling planning constructs to study their independent and joint effects on behaviour, (b) progressing research on moderators and mediators of planning effects outside the laboratory and (c) integrating planning processes within learning theory and self-regulation theory.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Sniehotta FF

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: British Journal of Health Psychology

Year: 2009

Volume: 14

Issue: 2

Pages: 261-273

ISSN (print): 1359-107X

Publisher: The British Psychological Society


DOI: 10.1348/135910708X389042


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