Psychological requirements for increased fruit and vegetable intake in young adults

Kanayo Umeh, Maxine Sharps

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    2 Citations (Scopus)


    Purpose – What are the psychological requirements for increasing fruit and vegetable intake in
    young people? Psychological theory suggests behaviour modification is driven by ten experiential and
    behavioural “processes of change”. However, their role in food choice remains unclear. Some of these
    mechanisms may be nothing more than a proxy for self-efficacy, a dominant factor in behaviour
    change. Thus, the aim of this study is to delineate the importance of processes of change (POCs) in fruit
    and vegetable intake, over and beyond self-efficacy.
    Design/methodology/approach – The study was based on a questionnaire survey assessing POCs
    and self-efficacy in relation to change in fruit and vegetable intake. Participants were 150 university
    Findings – MANOVA revealed significant differences in both experiential and behavioural
    processes across stages of behaviour change. These resources were more copious at advanced stages.
    Controlling for self-efficacy via MANCOVA negated stage differences in consciousness raising.
    Overall, though, the contribution of experiential and behavioural processes in fruit and vegetable
    uptake transcended differentials in self-efficacy. The unique or direct contribution of consciousness
    raising requires further investigation.
    Research limitations/implications – The findings may not generalise to an older more ethnically
    diverse population.
    Practical implications – Fruits and vegetables interventions may require a mixture of cognitive,
    self-evaluative, and behavioural treatments, over and beyond self-efficacy enhancements.
    Originality/value – Although previous studies have demonstrated the importance of POCs in fruit
    and vegetable intake this study shows that, at least in young adults, these associations largely
    transcend self-efficacy, a key driver in behaviour change.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)1310-1324
    Number of pages15
    JournalBritish Food Journal
    Issue number9
    Publication statusPublished - 2012


    • Health promotion
    • Fruits
    • Vegetables,
    • Young adults
    • Food products
    • Individual behaviour


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