Discover the most talked about and latest scientific content & concepts.

Journal: Health psychology : official journal of the Division of Health Psychology, American Psychological Association


Objective: In contrast to proposals that physical activity (PA) can be a substitute for alcohol use, people who engage in greater overall PA generally consume more alcohol on average than less-active peers. Acknowledging that both PA and alcohol use vary considerably from day-to-day, this study evaluated whether established associations reflect daily behavioral coupling within-person, are an artifact of procedures that aggregate behavior over time, or both. Methods: A life span sample of 150 adults (aged 19-89 years) completed three 21-day measurement bursts of a daily diary study. At the end of each day, they reported on their PA and alcohol consumption. Data were analyzed in a negative binomial multilevel regression. Results: As expected, both behaviors exhibited limited between-person variation. After controlling for age, gender, and seasonal and social calendar influences, daily deviations in PA were significantly associated with daily total alcohol use. Once the within-person process linking PA and alcohol use was controlled, usual PA and total alcohol use were not associated. Conclusions: The established between-person association linking PA and alcohol use reflects the aggregation of a daily process that unfolds within-people over time. Further work is needed to identify mediators of this daily association and to evaluate causality, as well as to investigate these relations in high-risk samples. (PsycINFO Database Record © 2014 APA, all rights reserved).

Concepts: Psychology, Aggregate, Behavior, Human behavior, Control, Wine, All rights reserved, Life span


Objective: The hypothesis that muscular states are related to emotions has been supported predominantly by research on facial expressions. However, body posture also may be important to the initiation and modulation of emotions. This experiment aimed to investigate whether an upright seated posture could influence affective and cardiovascular responses to a psychological stress task, relative to a slumped seated posture. Method: There were 74 participants who were randomly assigned to either a slumped or upright seated posture. Their backs were strapped with physiotherapy tape to hold this posture throughout the study. Participants were told a cover story to reduce expectation effects of posture. Participants completed a reading task, the Trier Social Stress speech task, assessments of mood, self-esteem, and perceived threat. Blood pressure and heart rate were continuously measured. Results: Upright participants reported higher self-esteem, more arousal, better mood, and lower fear, compared to slumped participants. Linguistic analysis showed slumped participants used more negative emotion words, first-person singular pronouns, affective process words, sadness words, and fewer positive emotion words and total words during the speech. Upright participants had higher pulse pressure during and after the stressor. Conclusions: Adopting an upright seated posture in the face of stress can maintain self-esteem, reduce negative mood, and increase positive mood compared to a slumped posture. Furthermore, sitting upright increases rate of speech and reduces self-focus. Sitting upright may be a simple behavioral strategy to help build resilience to stress. The research is consistent with embodied cognition theories that muscular and autonomic states influence emotional responding. (PsycINFO Database Record © 2014 APA, all rights reserved).

Concepts: Psychology, Affect, Linguistics, Verb, Emotion, Affective neuroscience, Feeling, Affect display


Parental empathy is associated with a host of beneficial psychosocial outcomes for children. However, less is known about the effects of being empathic for parents. The current study tested the hypothesis that, although parental empathy may be beneficial to children both psychologically and physiologically, it may take a physiological toll on parents.

Concepts: Psychology, Greek loanwords, Cognition, Cognitive neuroscience, Learning, Mother, Emotion, Father


Labels indicating low/light versions of tobacco and foods are perceived as less harmful, which may encourage people to consume more. There is an absence of evidence concerning the impact on consumption of labeling alcohol products as lower in strength. The current study tests the hypothesis that labeling wine and beer as lower in alcohol increases their consumption.

Concepts: The Canon of Medicine, Randomized controlled trial, Ethanol, Avicenna, The Current, Alcoholic beverage, Beer, Label


Objective: The development of new wind farms in many parts of the world has been thwarted by public concern that subaudible sound (infrasound) generated by wind turbines causes adverse health effects. Although the scientific evidence does not support a direct pathophysiological link between infrasound and health complaints, there is a body of lay information suggesting a link between infrasound exposure and health effects. This study tested the potential for such information to create symptom expectations, thereby providing a possible pathway for symptom reporting. Method: A sham-controlled double-blind provocation study, in which participants were exposed to 10 min of infrasound and 10 min of sham infrasound, was conducted. Fifty-four participants were randomized to high- or low-expectancy groups and presented audiovisual information, integrating material from the Internet, designed to invoke either high or low expectations that exposure to infrasound causes specified symptoms. Results: High-expectancy participants reported significant increases, from preexposure assessment, in the number and intensity of symptoms experienced during exposure to both infrasound and sham infrasound. There were no symptomatic changes in the low-expectancy group. Conclusions: Healthy volunteers, when given information about the expected physiological effect of infrasound, reported symptoms that aligned with that information, during exposure to both infrasound and sham infrasound. Symptom expectations were created by viewing information readily available on the Internet, indicating the potential for symptom expectations to be created outside of the laboratory, in real world settings. Results suggest psychological expectations could explain the link between wind turbine exposure and health complaints. (PsycINFO Database Record © 2013 APA, all rights reserved).

Concepts: Symptomatic treatment, Wind power, Wind farm, Floating wind turbine, Wind turbine, Windmill, Capacity factor, Éolienne Bollée


Research suggests that temporary abstinence from alcohol may convey physiological benefits and enhance well-being. The aim of this study was to address a lack of information about: (a) correlates of successful completion of a planned period of abstinence, and (b) how success or failure in planned abstinence affects subsequent alcohol consumption.

Concepts: Alcohol, Failure, Alcoholic beverage, Success, Seventh-day Adventist Church, Dry county, Prohibition in the United States


This research sought to examine the relationship of individuals' perceptions about their level of physical activity with mortality outcomes at the population level.

Concepts: Perception, Sense, Mind, Philosophy of perception


Objective: To investigate whether childhood general intelligence, fluid intelligence (Gf), and crystallized intelligence (Gc) predict various health outcomes in middle adulthood. Method: This prospective longitudinal study followed a nationally representative sample of 717 Luxembourgers. Intelligence and socioeconomic status (SES) were measured at age 12; physical, functional, and subjective health were assessed at age 52. Results: Childhood general intelligence and fluid intelligence showed substantial positive effects on adult health outcomes, whereas the corresponding effects of crystallized intelligence were considerably smaller. Conclusion: Childhood intelligence incrementally predicts various dimensions of adult health across 40 years-even in a country in which all citizens are guaranteed access to high-quality health care. (PsycINFO Database Record © 2012 APA, all rights reserved).

Concepts: Health care, Longitudinal study, Sociology, General intelligence factor, Intelligence, All rights reserved, Fluid and crystallized intelligence, Raymond Cattell


Objective: Cardiac rehabilitation (CR) is routinely prescribed for patients with cardiovascular disease (CVD), but data indicate that 20% to 50% of patients do not adhere to CR. Studies have focused on the impact of depression on CR adherence, but results have been equivocal. Irrational health beliefs are related to adherence among diabetes patients, but have not been examined among cardiac patients. This study examined depression and irrational health beliefs as predictors of CR adherence. Method: Sixty-one participants (30% female; mean age = 59.9 ± 11.8; 72% Caucasian), recruited at the outset of an outpatient CR program, completed a baseline questionnaire including measures of depression and irrational health beliefs. CR adherence was defined as the percentage of CR exercise sessions completed. Pearson correlations and analysis of variance determined demographic factors related to adherence. Hierarchical regression analyses examined irrational health beliefs and depression as predictors of CR adherence. Results: Older age (p < .05) and higher income (p < .05) were associated with better CR adherence, but CR adherence was lower among African Americans than Caucasians (p < .01). Depression was not related to adherence (p = .78), but irrational health beliefs predicted CR adherence, after controlling for race/ethnicity, income, and age (β = -.290, ΔR2 = .074, ΔF[1,55] = 5.50, p < .05). Conclusions: Irrational health beliefs predicted CR adherence but depression did not. Thus, poorer adherence to CR was associated with endorsing beliefs that are not based in medical evidence. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2014 APA, all rights reserved).

Concepts: Regression analysis, Prediction, Futurology, Illness, Pearson product-moment correlation coefficient, Analysis of variance, All rights reserved, Caucasian


Objective: The goal of this article is to review and highlight the relevance of social psychological research on self-regulation for health-related theory and practice. Methods: We first review research on goal setting, or determining which goals to pursue and the criteria to determine whether one has succeeded. We discuss when and why people adopt goals, what properties of goals increase the likelihood of their attainment, and why people abandon goals. We then review research on goal striving, which includes the planning and execution of actions that lead to goal attainment, and the processes that people use to shield their goals from being disrupted by other competing goals, temptations, or distractions. We describe four types of strategies that people use when pursuing goals. Results: We find that self-regulation entails the operation of a number of psychological mechanisms, and that there is no single solution that will help all people in all situations. We recommend a number of strategies that can help people to more effectively set and attain health-related goals. Conclusions: We conclude that enhancing health behavior requires a nuanced understanding and sensitivity to the varied, dynamic psychological processes involved in self-regulation, and that health is a prototypical and central domain in which to examine the relevance of these theoretical models for real behavior. We discuss the implications of this research for theory and practice in health-related domains. (PsycINFO Database Record © 2013 APA, all rights reserved).

Concepts: Scientific method, Psychology, Sociology, Management, Motivation, All rights reserved, American Psychological Association, Goal