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Planning to be routine: habit as a mediator of the planning-behaviour relationship in healthcare professionals

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Sebastian Potthoff, Dr Justin Presseau, Professor Falko Sniehotta, Dr Leah Avery


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Background: Clinicians often have strong intentions to provide evidence-based care to people with type 2 diabetes. Intentions are an important predictor of behaviour, but do not guarantee enactment. Action planning (AP) and coping planning (CP) can help with intention enactment by creating cue-response links that promote automaticity. This study aimed to investigate whether the relationship between AP or CP and clinician behaviour operates indirectly through measures of automaticity.Methods: Prospective correlational design with six nested sub-studies. Physicians and nurses (n = 427 from 99 UK practices) completed measures of AP, CP, and automaticity at baseline and self-reported their enactment of guideline-recommended advising, prescribing and examining behaviours 12 months later. We used bootstrapped mediation analyses.Findings: Eleven of the 12 analyses showed either a full or partial mediation effect. AP operated indirectly on behaviour via automaticity for five of the six behaviours and CP for all six clinician behaviours.Conclusion: The mechanism of automaticity creation inherent to planning was supported across six different behaviours and suggests that planning may be an effective strategy for promoting habitual behaviour in clinicians.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Potthoff S, Presseau J, Sniehotta F, Elovainio M, Avery L

Publication type: Conference Proceedings (inc. Abstract)

Publication status: Published

Conference Name: 29th Conference of the EHPS: Principles of Behaviour Change in Health and Illness

Year of Conference: 2015

Pages: 224-224

Acceptance date: 01/09/2015