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Journal: Journal of behavioral medicine


Despite the benefits of exercise during pregnancy, many expectant mothers are inactive. This study examined whether augmenting a protection motivation theory (PMT) intervention with a Health Action Process Approach can enhance exercise behavior change among pregnant women. Sixty inactive pregnant women were randomly assigned to one of three treatment groups: PMT-only, PMT + action-planning, and PMT + action-and-coping-planning. Week-long objective (accelerometer) and subjective (self-report) exercise measures were collected at baseline, and at 1- and 4-weeks post-intervention. Repeated-measures ANOVAs demonstrated that while all participants reported increased exercise from baseline to 1-week post-intervention, participants in both planning groups were significantly more active (p < .001) than those in the PMT-only group by 4-weeks post-intervention (η (2) = .13 and .15 for accelerometer and self-report data, respectively). In conclusion, augmenting a PMT intervention with action or action-and-coping-planning can enhance exercise behavior change in pregnant women.

Concepts: Mother, Pregnancy, Childbirth, Human behavior, Motivation, Health Action Process Approach


The present exploratory study examined the role of acculturation in the perception of the risks of smoking following a smoking cessation induction intervention among Latino caregivers of children with asthma. The sample consisted of 131 Latino smokers (72.9 % female; 18.3 % born in the U.S.) who were caregivers of a child with asthma. Caregivers were randomized to one of two smoking cessation interventions that were part of a home-based asthma program. Self-report measures of risk-perception were assessed at baseline, end of treatment (2 months after baseline), and 2- and 3-months post-treatment. At baseline, caregivers, regardless of level of acculturation, reported moderate to high levels of concern about the effects of secondhand smoke on their child’s health as well as perceived risk regarding the effect of smoking on their own health. However, caregivers who were low in acculturation had a greater increase in concern about the effects of smoking on their child from pre-to post treatment compared to those who were high in acculturation (p = .001). Lastly, level of acculturation moderated the association between caregivers' concern about smoking on their child’s health and their motivation to quit smoking (p < .05), but not cessation rates or reduced secondhand smoke exposure (p > .05). Specifically, motivation to quit at 3 months was greater for those with low acculturation. Though exploratory, these findings suggest that risk perception may be more easily influenced in low versus high acculturated populations and this should be considered in the design of clinical interventions and potentially mass media campaigns seeking to influence risk of caregiver behavior on child health with ethnic and racial minorities.

Concepts: Passive smoking, Cultural Theory of risk, Nicotine, Risk perception, United States, Smoking cessation, Risk, Smoking


The study investigated whether typical psychological, physiological, and neurophysiological changes from a single exercise are affected by one’s beliefs and expectations. Seventy-six participants were randomly assigned to four groups and saw different multimedia presentations suggesting that the subsequent exercise (moderate 30 min cycling) would result in more or less health benefits (induced expectations). Additionally, we assessed habitual expectations reflecting previous experience and beliefs regarding exercise benefits. Participants with more positive habitual expectations consistently demonstrated both greater psychological benefits (more enjoyment, mood increase, and anxiety reduction) and greater increase of alpha-2 power, assessed with electroencephalography. Manipulating participants' expectations also resulted in largely greater increases of alpha-2 power, but not in more psychological exercise benefits. On the physiological level, participants decreased their blood pressure after exercising, but this was independent of their expectations. These results indicate that habitual expectations in particular affect exercise-induced psychological and neurophysiological changes in a self-fulfilling manner.

Concepts: Psychology, Affect, Exercise, Physical exercise, Neuroscience, Cognitive science, Emotion, Cycling


The aim of this secondary analysis was to determine whether seasonal light exposure, categorized by type of day length, is associated with or predictive of depressive symptoms in late pregnancy and the first 3 months postpartum. Women (n = 279) expecting their first child were recruited from prenatal clinics and childbirth education classes. Depressive symptoms were assessed with the Center for Epidemiologic Studies Depression Scale. Day lengths were categorized into short, lengthening, long and shortening. Data analysis included linear mixed models and multiple linear regression. When days were shortening (August to first 4 days of November) in late third trimester, depressive symptom scores were highest (35%) and continued to be higher at each postpartum assessment compared to other day length categories. Implications for clinical practice include increased vigilance for depressive symptoms, particularly if late pregnancy and birth occurs during the 3 months around the Autumn equinox when day length is shortening. Strategies that increase light exposure in late pregnancy and postpartum should also be considered.


Daily self-weighing has been suggested as an important factor for weight loss maintenance among samples with obesity. This study is a secondary analysis that examined daily self-weighing in association with weight and body composition outcomes over 2 years among young women with vulnerability for weight gain. Women (N = 294) of varying weight status completed self-weighing frequency questionnaires and weight was measured in the clinic at baseline, 6 months, 1, and 2 years; DXA scans were completed at baseline, 6 months and 2 years. Multilevel models examined the relationship between daily self-weighing (at any point in the study) and trajectories of BMI and body fat percentage. Daily self-weighing was associated with significant declines in BMI and body fat percent over time. Future research is needed to examine causal relations between daily self-weighing and weight gain prevention. Nonetheless, these data extend the possibility that daily self-weighing may be important for prevention of unwanted weight gain.

Concepts: Dieting, Sociology, Obesity, Health, Body mass index, Body fat percentage, Nutrition, Adipose tissue


The purpose of this work was to examine (1) relations of diabetes stress to psychological well-being and health, (2) links of age to such outcomes and (3) the extent to which age moderated relations from diabetes stress to outcomes. These aims were addressed in a diverse community sample of 207 individuals recently diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, employing survey and daily diary methods. Participants reported age, diabetes distress, and psychological distress at baseline and 6 months later. Glycemic control also was assessed. Participants completed a 14-day daily diary protocol in which they reported daily diabetes stressors, mood, and self-care. Both cross-sectional and longitudinal results showed diabetes distress was associated with poorer outcomes. Daily diary data showed that individuals who reported more daily diabetes stressors reported poorer outcomes. Older age was linked to less psychological distress, but was unrelated to daily diabetes stressors. Older age attenuated relations of diabetes distress to outcomes.


Personality is an important epidemiological factor for understanding health outcomes. This study investigated the associations of trait procrastination with hypertension and cardiovascular disease (HT/CVD) and maladaptive coping by testing an extension of the procrastination-health model among individuals with and without HT/CVD. Individuals with self-reported HT/CVD (N = 182) and healthy controls (N = 564), from a community sample, completed an online survey including measures of personality, coping, and health outcomes. Logistic regression analysis controlling for demographic and higher order personality factors found that older age, lower education level and higher procrastination scores were associated with HT/CVD. Moderated mediation analyses with bootstrapping revealed that procrastination was more strongly associated with maladaptive coping behaviours in participants with HT/CVD than the healthy controls, and the indirect effects on stress through maladaptive coping were larger for the HT/CVD sample. Results suggest procrastination is a vulnerability factor for poor adjustment to and management of HT/CVD.

Concepts: Health, Demography, Regression analysis, Logic, Statistics, Epidemiology, Medicine, Logistic regression


Limited research has addressed how social support in the form of a pet can affect both sympathetic and hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal reactivity in response to a psychological challenge. The present study examined the effects of social support on salivary cortisol and heart rate (HR). Forty-eight participants were randomly assigned to three different conditions (human friend, novel dog, or control). All participants completed the Trier Social Stress Test and provided cortisol, HR, and State-Trait Anxiety Inventory measures. For participants paired with a dog, overall cortisol levels were attenuated throughout the experimental procedure, and HR was attenuated during the Trier Social Stress Test. For all groups, state anxiety increased after the Trier Social Stress Test, and HR during the Trier Social Stress Test was a predictor of cortisol. These results suggest that short-term exposure to a novel dog in an unfamiliar setting can be beneficial. They also suggest a possible mechanism for the beneficial effect associated with affiliation with pets.

Concepts: Friendship, Affect, Effect, Dog, Time, Psychology, Anxiety, Pet


Our public health approaches to addressing COVID-19 are heavily dependent on social and behavioral change strategies to halt transmissions. To date, biomedical forms of curative and preventative treatments for COVID-19 are at best limited. Four decades into the HIV epidemic we have learned a considerable amount of information regarding social and behavioral approaches to addressing disease transmission. Here we outline broad, scoping lessons learned from the HIV literature tailored to the nature of what we currently know about COVID-19. We focus on multiple levels of intervention including intrapersonal, interpersonal, community, and social factors, each of which provide a reference point for understanding and elaborating on social/behavioral lessons learned from HIV prevention and treatment research. The investments in HIV prevention and treatment research far outweigh any infectious disease in the history of public health, that is, until now with the emergence of COVID-19.


A significant body of research has investigated the effects of physical activity on sleep, yet this research has not been systematically aggregated in over a decade. As a result, the magnitude and moderators of these effects are unclear. This meta-analytical review examines the effects of acute and regular exercise on sleep, incorporating a range of outcome and moderator variables. PubMed and PsycINFO were used to identify 66 studies for inclusion in the analysis that were published through May 2013. Analyses reveal that acute exercise has small beneficial effects on total sleep time, sleep onset latency, sleep efficiency, stage 1 sleep, and slow wave sleep, a moderate beneficial effect on wake time after sleep onset, and a small effect on rapid eye movement sleep. Regular exercise has small beneficial effects on total sleep time and sleep efficiency, small-to-medium beneficial effects on sleep onset latency, and moderate beneficial effects on sleep quality. Effects were moderated by sex, age, baseline physical activity level of participants, as well as exercise type, time of day, duration, and adherence. Significant moderation was not found for exercise intensity, aerobic/anaerobic classification, or publication date. Results were discussed with regards to future avenues of research and clinical application to the treatment of insomnia.

Concepts: Effect, Effectiveness, Physical exercise, Insomnia, Time, Exercise, Rapid eye movement sleep, Sleep