Beyond intention: do specific plans increase health behaviours in patients in primary care? A study of fruit and vegetable consumption

Cath Jackson, Rebecca Lawton, Peter Knapp, David K Raynor, Mark Conner, Catherine Lowe, S José Closs

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Increasing evidence suggests that implementation intentions are effective in moving people towards achieving health behaviour goals. However, the type of health behaviours for which they work best is unclear. Furthermore, implementation intentions appear to be less effective when studied in clinical rather than student populations. This prospective study tested implementation intentions with a complex, repeated health behaviour in a patient sample. A total of 120 cardiac patients in the UK were asked to increase their daily fruit and vegetable consumption by two portions and to maintain this over 3 months. Participants were randomly assigned to three groups (control, Theory of Planned Behaviour (TPB) questionnaire, TPB questionnaire+implementation intention) and telephoned at 7, 28 and 90 days follow-up to record daily consumption (24-h recall measure); 94 participants completed the study. Daily fruit and vegetable consumption increased from 2.88 portions (SD=1.67) at recruitment to 4.28 portions (SD=2.25) at 90 days. A 4x3 (time by group) mixed design ANCOVA was computed with daily fruit and vegetable consumption at recruitment entered as a covariate. This revealed a significant time effect (F (3, 270)=29.79, p
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2383-91
Number of pages9
JournalSocial Science & Medicine
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 2005


  • Female
  • Fruit
  • Health Behavior
  • Health Promotion
  • Heart Diseases
  • Humans
  • Intention
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Nutritional Status
  • Patient Compliance
  • Primary Health Care
  • Questionnaires
  • Vegetables

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