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Self-Regulation in Health Behavior

Denise de Ridder (Editor), John de Wit (Co-Editor)

ISBN: 978-0-470-02409-6 June 2006 264 Pages


This text offers a comprehensive overview of new approaches to health-related behaviour from a self-regulation perspective. The authors outline the assumptions on which self-regulation theories are based, discuss recent research and draw out the implications for practice with a particular focus on changing health behaviour. The book is arranged in two sections – Goal Setting and Goal Activation in Health Behaviour and Goal Striving and Goal Persistence. The epilogue compares self-regulation theories with the prevailing social-cognitive models.
About the Editors.



Chapter 1: Self-regulation in Health Behavior: Concepts, Theories, and Central Issues (Denise T.D. de Ridder and John B.F. de Wit).

Part I: Goal Setting in Health Behavior: Conflicting Desires and Social Influences.

Chapter 2: Contextualizing Health Behaviors: The Role of Personal Goals (Winifred A. Gebhardt).

Chapter 3: Unintentional Behavior: A Subrational Approach to Health Risk (Frederick X. Gibbons, Meg Gerrard, Rachel A. Reimer, and Elizabeth A. Pomery).

Chapter 4: Social Influences on Adolescent Substance Use: Insights into How Parents and Peers Affect Adolescent’s Smoking and Drinking Behavior (Rutger C.M.E. Engels and Sander M. Bot).

Chapter 5: Temperament, Self-regulation, and the Prototype/Willingness Model of Adolescent Health Risk Behavior (Meg Gerrard, Frederick X. Gibbons, Michelle L. Stock, Amy E. Houlihan, and Jennifer L. Dykstra).

Part II: Goal Striving to Achieve Outcomes: Getting Started, Staying on Track, and Letting Go.

Chapter 6: Implementation Intentions: Strategic Automatization of Goal Striving (Paschal Sheeran, Thomas L. Webb, and Peter M. Gollwitzer).

Chapter 7: Managing Immediate Needs in the Pursuit of Health Goals: The Role of Coping in Self-regulation (Denise T.D. de Ridder and Roeline G. Kuijer).

Chapter 8: Maintaining Self-control: The Role of Expectancies (Carolien Martijn, Hugo J.E.M. Alberts, and Nanne K. de Vries).

Chapter 9: Maintenance of Health Behavior Change: Additional Challenges for Self-regulation Theory, Research, and Practice (John B.F. de Wit).

Chapter 10: Hanging On and Letting Go in the Pursuit of Health Goals: Psychological Mechanisms to Cope with a Regulatory Dilemma (Klaus Rothermund).


  • New topic within health psychology
  • Brings together American and European perspectives
  • Compares self-regulation theories with previous theories on health behaviour, particularly social-cognitive models
  • Relates theory to practice