Background. Self-regulation tools are not always used optimally, and implementation intention plans often lack quality. Therefore, this study explored participants’ use and feasibility evaluation of self-regulation techniques and their impact on goal attainment.
Methods. Data were obtained from 452 adults in a proof of concept (POC) intervention of ‘MyPlan’, an eHealth intervention using self-regulation techniques to promote three healthy behaviours (physical activity(PA), fruit intake, or vegetable intake). Participants applied self-regulation techniques to a self-selected health behaviour, and evaluated the self-regulation techniques. The quality of implementation intentions was rated by the authors as a function of instrumentality (instrumental and non-instrumental) and specificity (non-specific and medium to high specific). Logistic regression analyses were conducted to predict goal attainment.
Results. Goal attainment was significantly predicted by the motivational value of the personal advice (OR:1.86), by the specificity of the implementation intentions (OR:3.5), by the motivational value of the action plan (OR:1.86), and by making a new action plan at follow-up (OR:4.10). Interaction-effects with behaviour showed that the specificity score of the implementation intention plans (OR:4.59), the motivational value of the personal advice (OR:2.38), selecting hindering factors and solutions(OR:2.00) and making a new action plan at follow-up (OR:7.54) were predictive of goal attainment only for fruit or vegetable intake. Also, when participants in the fruit and vegetable group made more than three plans, they were more likely to attain their goal (OR:1.73), whereas the reverse was the case in the PA group (OR:0.34).
Discussion. Feedback on goal feasibility, coping implementation intentions, further research to investigate the optimal number of plans for different behaviours, the optimal frequency and timing of follow-up modules and new ways to incorporate social support in eHealth interventions, are recommended.