Understanding the effects of emotion on information seeking and health behaviors: Improving communication to promote healthy lifestyles
Allen Catellier, Jennifer R.
MetadataShow full item record
Health communication research has examined a number of theoretical frameworks to better understand the factors that influence health behaviors. This dissertation addresses three of those frameworks, the Theory of Planned Behavior (TPB), the Health Belief Model (HBM), and the Risk Information Seeking and Processing (RISP) model as they relate to diet and exercise behaviors. Recent research has indicated that affect plays an important role in promoting healthy behaviors. This dissertation examines the role of affect in these models through experiment and survey research. Participants were subject to an affect manipulation (Positive N=91, Negative N=91 and Neutral N=90), then asked to complete a survey measuring the theoretical constructs of interest. Finally, subjects were asked to choose from a variety of healthy and unhealthy snacks as a measure of healthy behavior. Results showed that the TPB and HBM were successful in predicting up to 38% of the variance in intentions to eat healthy and exercise, but positive and negative affect were the only variables that significantly predicted actual behaviors. Tests of the RISP model also showed that the theory was successful in predicting intentions to seek information about these behaviors. When communication behaviors such as information seeking and processing were linked to diet and exercise behaviors, systematic processing led to more healthy behaviors while heuristic processing led to more unhealthy behaviors. Positive and negative affect also predicted these behaviors. The results of these studies were used to propose an integrated health communication behavior model that addresses cognitive, affective, and informational determinants of behavior. The applicability of this model and the importance of affect in health behavior models is also discussed.