Predicting and Promoting Healthy Diet in College-Aged Women Using the Health Action Process Approach Model
One of the nation's most pressing health related issues is that of healthy diet and proper nutrition. Because much research has shown that many Americans are in poor health or are at risk to become so due to poor diet and nutrition, understanding the psychological factors of a healthy diet or lack thereof is of the utmost importance. In order to understand the adoption and maintenance of health related behaviors, the link between intentions and behaviors must be evaluated. Of current health behavior models, the model utilized in this study was the Health Action Process Approach model (HAPA), which addressed this "intention-behavior gap." The HAPA model proposes that planning is the key mediator of the link between intentions and behavior. The current research was performed in two stages. The first stage evaluated the psychosocial constructs of the HAPA model, and their predictive utility for current diet and the second stage evaluated a planning-based intervention that aimed to increase proper nutrition in college-aged women. All HAPA constructs were found to be significantly correlated with one another, and planning was found to significantly and fully mediate the link between intention and healthy diet. The intervention did not lead to an increase in healthy diet relative to a standard-of-care control, although all participants across conditions reported increased intention, self-efficacy, and healthy diet from pre-test to follow-up.