Some notes and speculations about various topics. ||| Gegenwärtig - vorübergehend -
wohl eher eine Gedankensammlung als ein Naturwissenschaftsblog. Das Konzept eines "Naturwissenschaftsblogs" wird erst im kommenden Jahr (2018/2019) Umsetzung finden.
Dienstag, 20. Oktober 2015
Self-comparisons as motivators for healthy behavior
Holly B. Shakya, Nicholas A. Christakis and James H. Fowler (2015)
We explored whether individuals' comparison of themselves to their social contacts, specifically feeling fitter or thinner than friends, is a significant predictor of three weight-loss behaviors (dieting, reducing alcohol, exercising).
We used a longitudinal survey of a national sample of Americans (N = 20,373) to measure respondents' personal social networks and their self-comparisons to their social contacts at two annual waves.
Participants who felt thinner than friends in Wave 1 had 1.16 lower odds of dieting in Wave 2. Those who felt fitter than friends in Wave 1 had 1.10 times higher odds of reducing alcohol and 1.18 times higher odds of exercising in Wave 2. We found that 20% of the relationship between feeling thin at baseline and subsequent dieting may be because feeling heavier than friends makes one want to lose weight. This same dynamic accounts for 25% of the relationship between feeling fit and dieting and 12% of the relationship between feeling thin and reducing alcohol.
These results suggest that normative self-comparison with important others is a potentially salient determinant of obesity-related health behavior and appears to work differently depending upon the behavior. Interventions may benefit from exploiting social comparisons in targeted ways.