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Smoking is ok as long as I eat healthily: Compensatory Health Beliefs and their role for intentions and smoking within the Health Action Process Approach

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Compensatory Health Beliefs (CHBs) are defined as beliefs that the negative consequences of unhealthy behaviours can be compensated for by engaging in healthy behaviours. CHBs have not yet been investigated within a framework of a behaviour change model, nor have they been investigated in detail regarding smoking. Thus, the aim of this study was to investigate on a theoretical basis whether smoking-specific CHBs, as a cognitive construct, add especially to the prediction of intention formation but also to changes in smoking behaviour over and above predictors specified by the Health Action Process Approach (HAPA). The sample comprised 385 adolescent smokers (mean age: 17.80). All HAPA-specific variables and a smoking-specific CHB scale were assessed twice, 4 months apart. Data were analysed using structural equation modelling. Smoking-specific CHBs were significantly negatively related to the intention to stop smoking over and above HAPA-specific predictors. Overall, 39% of variance in the intention to quit smoking was explained. For the prediction of smoking, CHBs were not able to explain variance over and above planning and self-efficacy. Thus, smoking-specific CHBs seem mainly important in predicting intentions but not behaviour. Overall, the findings contribute to the understanding of the role of smoking-specific CHBs within a health-behaviour change model.
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Keywords: Compensatory Health Beliefs; Health Action Process Approach; adolescents; intention; smoking

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Department of Psychology,Social and Health Psychology, University of Zurich, Binzm├╝hlestrasse, 14/Box 14, 8050 Zurich, Switzerland 2: Institute of Psychology, Health Psychology, University of Bern, Alpeneggstr. 22, 3012 Bern, Switzerland

Publication date: October 1, 2012

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