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Frank F. Eves and Roberta Hoppé

Expectancy-value models of attitudes include belief statements about associated outcomes, with salient, accessible beliefs most important. This article reports two studies testing automatic accessibility of outcomes for physical activities using response latencies. A behavior presented by computer was followed 500 ms later by an outcome, such as more fit. Participants decided as quickly as possible whether the outcome was likely or unlikely (720 trials). We predicted shorter response latencies for accessible beliefs. Use of positive and negative outcomes (Study 1) produced a paradoxical slowing of response indicating deliberative processing. With only positive poles (Study 2), faster responses occurred for a priori links consistent with enhanced accessibility; some outcomes were accessible for some activities. Comparisons between explicitly reported beliefs and these implicit measures of accessibility revealed differences between the two measures. Discussion focuses on two possible routes to enhanced accessibility of attitudes, namely an explicit, cognitive process and an implicit, experiential process.

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Amanda Louise Lewis and Frank F. Eves

Background/Objective:

While point-of-choice prompts consistently increase stair climbing, experimental comparisons of message content are rare. Here, the effects of 2 messages differing in complexity about the health outcomes obtainable from stair climbing were compared.

Methods:

In a UK train station with 2 independent platforms exited by identical 39-step staircases and adjacent escalators, observers recorded travelers ascent method and gender from 8:00 A.M. to 10:00 A.M. on 2 weekdays during February/March 2008 (n = 48,697). Baseline observations (2-weeks) preceded a 3-week poster phase. Two posters (594 × 841mm) that differed in the complexity of the message were positioned at the point-of-choice between ascent methods, with 1 placed on each side of the station simultaneously. Logistic regression analysis was conducted in April 2010.

Results:

Omnibus analysis contained main effects of the intervention (OR = 1.07, CI = 1.02–1.13, P = .01) and pedestrian traffic volume (OR = 5.42, CI = 3.05–9.62, P < .001). Similar effects occurred for complex (OR = 1.10, CI = 1.02–1.18, P = .01) and simple messages (OR = 1.07, CI = 1.01–1.13, P = .02) when analyses controlled for the influence of pedestrian traffic volume. There was reduced efficacy for the complex message during busier periods (OR = 0.36, CI = 0.20–0.66, P = .001), whereas the simple message was immune to these effects of traffic volume.

Conclusions:

Pedestrian traffic flow in stations can influence message effectiveness. Simple messages appear more suitable for busy sites.

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Oliver J. Webb, Frank F. Eves and Jacqueline Kerr

Background:

Stair climbing is an accessible activity with proven health benefits. This article summarizes the effectiveness of mall-based stair-climbing interventions, while controlling for, and examining, potential moderators of stair/escalator choice.

Methods:

Six comparable studies were identified, which used poster/ banner prompts to promote stair choice. Original data were combined and analyzed using logistic regression. Pedestrians’ stair/escalator choices (N = 127,221) provided the dichotomous outcome variable. Demographics (eg, gender), condition (baseline vs. intervention), and ‘pedestrian traffic volume’ were entered as potential moderators. To examine durability of effects, the rate of stair climbing in each half of the intervention period was compared.

Results:

Overall, stair choice was more common in men (odds ratio [OR] = 1.72), under-60s (OR = 1.91), Whites (OR = 1.38), those without accompanying children (OR = 1.53), and periods of high traffic (OR = 1.55). The rate of stair climbing increased in the intervention phase relative to baseline (OR = 2.09), with greater effects among women (OR = 1.99) versus men (OR = 1.86), and under-60s (OR = 2.62) versus over-60s (OR = 1.93). Intervention effects fell slightly during the second half of the intervention period (OR = 0.92).

Conclusions:

Conventional mass media campaigns engage an extra 5.0% of people in physical activity. The current calculations indicate that comparatively simple poster/banner prompts can increase stair climbing in mall settings by 6.0%.

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David P. French, Catherine D. Darker, Frank F. Eves and Falko F. Sniehotta

The Theory of Planned Behavior (TPB) has been extensively used in predictive studies, but there have been considerably fewer experimental tests of the theory. One reason for this is that the guidance on developing concrete intervention strategies from the abstract theory is vague, and there are few exemplars of how to do this. The aim of this article is to provide such an exemplar. The development of an intervention to increase walking in the general public is described, based on the TPB, extended to include postvolitional processes. Identification of target constructs, elicitation of key salient beliefs underpinning these constructs, selection of appropriate behavior change techniques, and technique refinement. Each step is based on available evidence and consistent with theory. Perceived behavioral control (PBC) was identified as the key determinant of walking intentions, with an “intention-behavior gap” noted. A brief intervention was developed, using techniques to increase PBC by rehearsal of previous successful performance of behavior, along with planning techniques to translate motivation into behavior. This systematic approach taken should provide a model for others. The intervention has demonstrated efficacy in producing large changes in objectively measured walking behavior, in 2 separate evaluations reported elsewhere.