A1 Journal article (refereed)
Evidence That Habit Moderates the Implicit Belief-Behavior Relationship in Health Behaviors (2022)

Phipps, D. J., Hagger, M. S., & Hamilton, K. (2022). Evidence That Habit Moderates the Implicit Belief-Behavior Relationship in Health Behaviors. International Journal of Behavioral Medicine, 29(1), 116-121. https://doi.org/10.1007/s12529-021-09975-z

JYU authors or editors

Publication details

All authors or editorsPhipps, Daniel J.; Hagger, Martin S.; Hamilton, Kyra

Journal or seriesInternational Journal of Behavioral Medicine



Publication year2022

Publication date06/04/2021


Issue number1

Pages range116-121


Publication countryUnited States

Publication languageEnglish


Publication open accessNot open

Publication channel open access

Web address of parallel published publication (pre-print)https://psyarxiv.com/w9d8k/


Theory suggests that implicit beliefs are more likely to be associated with spontaneous, impulsive health behaviors (e.g., smoking, snacking), while controlled, consciously accessible beliefs are more likely to be associated with behaviors that require deliberation and reasoned decision-making (e.g., physical activity, healthy food selection). Consistent with these predictions, we proposed that as behaviors become habitual, they require less deliberation to enact and are thus more likely to be controlled by non-conscious processes, as indicated by stronger associations with implicit beliefs. The present study tested the moderating effect of habit on the effects of implicit beliefs on two health behaviors.

Two samples of university students completed measures of attitude, habit, and implicit beliefs for free-sugar intake (sample 1) and heavy episodic drinking (sample 2) at an initial time point, with follow-up behavioral measures taken at 2 and 4 weeks later, respectively.

Path analyses indicated that attitude and habit predicted behavior in both samples, and habit moderated the implicit belief-behavior relationship in both samples. The effect of implicit beliefs on behavior was larger among participants reporting strong habits. Implicit beliefs did not moderate the effect of explicit attitudes on behavior.

Findings provide preliminary evidence that experiencing health behaviors as habitual is associated with a stronger implicit beliefs-health behavior relationship.

Keywordshealth behaviourlifestyle habitssocial cognitionhabitsconceptionsattitudes

Free keywordssocial cognition; habits; implicit attitudes; implicit identity; implicit beliefs

Contributing organizations

Ministry reportingYes

Reporting Year2022

JUFO rating1

Last updated on 2024-03-04 at 20:15