Effects of Thinking About Reasons and Actions on Intentions to Perform Health Behaviors


Correspondence coneerning this article should be addressed to Murray Millar, Department of Psychology, University of Nevada, 4505 Maryland Parkway, Box 455030, Las Vegas, NV 89154-5030.


This study examined the effects of directed thinking on intention to perform disease-detection and health-promotion behaviors. It was hypothesized that when participants thought about reasons for performing the behavior, they would have stronger intentions to perform health-promotion behaviors than disease-detection behaviors. Alternatively, when participants thought about actions, the difference in intention to perform health-promotion and disease-detection behaviors should not be found. This hypothesis was tested by directing some participants to think of reasons why either a disease-detection or a health-promotion behavior would be beneficial. Other participants were directed to think of as many actions as possible that would make either a health-promotion or disease-detection behavior enjoyable. The results supported the hypothesis.