Chewing the fat on obesity: The role of ego depletion and social norms on healthy weight control intentions and behaviours

Amelia Mycock (2011). Chewing the fat on obesity: The role of ego depletion and social norms on healthy weight control intentions and behaviours Honours Thesis, School of Psychology, The University of Queensland.

       
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Author Amelia Mycock
Thesis Title Chewing the fat on obesity: The role of ego depletion and social norms on healthy weight control intentions and behaviours
School, Centre or Institute School of Psychology
Institution The University of Queensland
Publication date 2011-10-12
Thesis type Honours Thesis
Supervisor Dr Winnifred Louis
Total pages 109
Language eng
Subjects 1701 Psychology
Abstract/Summary The present study examined the effects of manipulated ego depletion (being drained of one's willpower) and descriptive referent group norms (what others do in your group) on healthy weight control intentions and behaviours. The role of the Theory of Planned Behaviour (Ajzen, 1985) was also examined, as was the direct and moderating role of group identification. A sample of 154 University students completed tasks designed to have either high or low ego depleting effects and received either relatively positive, negative, or no descriptive norm information. Results revealed that high ego depletion and negative descriptive norms were associated with more unhealthy eating behaviour, however ego depletion and descriptive norms did not interact. High ego depletion was also associated with weaker intentions to engage in healthy weight control. Partial support was found for the Theory of Planned Behaviour model however no moderating effect of group identity on intentions or behaviours was observed. These results support the importance of ego depletion and referent group descriptive norms as unique predictors of unhealthy eating behaviours, but also indicate that depleted self-control actually weakens people's intentions to engage in effortful behaviours such as weight control. Directions for future research and implications for behaviour change interventions targeting obesity are discussed.
Keyword Ego depletion
Healthy weight control
Intentions and behaviours

 
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Created: Wed, 20 Jun 2012, 15:03:54 EST by Mrs Ann Lee on behalf of School of Psychology