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The mediating and moderating role of planning on mothers’ decisions for early childhood dietary behaviours

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Objective: Examine the roles of action and coping planning on the intention–behaviour relationship for mothers’ decisions for their young children’s dietary behaviours.

Design: Prospective design with two waves of data collection, one week apart.

Main outcome measures: Mothers (N = 197, M age = 34.39, SD = 5.65) of children aged 2–3 years completed a main questionnaire assessing planning constructs and intentions, and a one-week follow-up of the target behaviours – ‘healthy eating’ and ‘discretionary choices’.

Results: Intention was the strongest predictor of behaviour for both dietary behaviours. For healthy eating, intention moderated the indirect relationship between intention–behaviour via planning; coping planning was less important when intention was strong. Further, intention was not a direct predictor of behaviour when intention was relatively low. Action planning was not a direct predictor of either behaviour after accounting for intention and coping planning; action planning on behaviour was mediated by coping planning (only for healthy eating). Intention was not a direct predictor of coping planning; intention on coping planning was mediated by action planning. Neither type of planning predicted discretionary choices.

Conclusion: Current findings contribute novel information on the mechanisms underpinning the effect of action and coping planning on the intention–behaviour relationship.
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Keywords: Health Action Process Approach; action planning; children; coping planning; mothers; nutrition

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: School of Applied Psychology, Menzies Health Institute Queensland, Griffith University, Brisbane, Australia 2: School of Psychology, Deakin University, Geelong, Australia 3: Health Psychology and Behavioural Medicine Research Group, School of Psychology and Speech Pathology, Curtin University, Perth, Australia

Publication date: December 2, 2017

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