Navigation Links
Part of the in-group? A surprising new strategy helps reduce unhealthy behaviors

Public health campaigns intended to reduce unhealthy behaviors like binge drinking and eating junk food often focus on the risks of those behaviors. But a new study in the Journal of Consumer Research suggests a relatively simple but surprisingly effective strategy to improve consumer health.

Authors Jonah Berger (University of Pennsylvania) and Lindsay Rand (Stanford University) found that linking a risky behavior with an "outgroup" (a group that the targeted audience doesn't want to be confused with) caused participants to reduce unhealthy behaviors.

"We suggest that public health campaigns will be more successful if they attend to how behaviors act as markers or signals of identity," the authors write.

The studies began by identifying groups of people who study participants liked, but with whom the participants would not want to be confused"outgroups." In the first study, the participants were undergraduates and the "outgroup" was graduate students. When participants were led to believe that graduate students consumed more junk food, they chose 28% fewer junk-food items than participants who thought their group ate more junk food.

In another study, researchers placed fliers in freshman dormitories on a college campus. In one dorm, the fliers emphasized the health risks of binge drinking. In another dorm, the fliers linked binge drinking to graduate students. Participants in the dorm with the second flier consumed at least 50 percent less alcohol than those who saw the health risk fliers.

In a third study, students on their way to a campus eatery were surveyed about perceptions of the media. A control group read an article about politics and pop culture, and a second group read an article associating junk-food eating with online gamers (an "outgroup"). When research assistants observed the two groups ordering food, they found that the group who had read the article about online gamers made healthier choices.

These studies highlight the importance of identity in health behavior and suggest promising directions for future health promotion appeals, the authors believe. "Decisions are not only based on risks and benefits, but also the identity that a given choice communicates to others. Consequently, shifting perceptions of the identity associated with a risky behavior can help make better health a reality."


Contact: Mary-Ann Twist
University of Chicago Press Journals

Related medicine news :

1. Flip Flops, Mulch and No Coat: Study Identifies Surprising Barriers to Outdoor Activity for Kids in Child-Care Centers
2. Cato Study Finds Iran a Surprising Model for Kidney Markets
3. Surprising New Research Indicates that Significant Numbers of Children as Young as 11 are Engaging in Sexual Activity and that Dating Violence and Abuse are Part of Their Relationships
4. Survey of Iowa Voters Reveals Surprising Results and Attitudes Toward Americas Health Care Crisis
5. CRDB Bases Growth Strategy on Misys BankFusion Platform
6. New HIV Infection Figures from CDC Underscore Need for National AIDS Strategy for the U.S.
7. New HIV Infection Figures from CDC to be Announced on Aug. 3 Underscore Need for National AIDS Strategy for the U.S.
8. Estimate of Annual HIV Incidence Increases Significantly; New Estimate Will Show Need For a National AIDS Strategy
9. HealthFitness Guides Incentives Strategy to Spark Participation in American Electric Power's Employee Health and Wellness Initiative New Issue Brief Highlights AEP program, Outlines Elements for Success
10. Smart bomb nanoparticle strategy impacts metastasis
11. Population-Based Strategy Urged to Cut U.S. Obesity Rate
Post Your Comments:
(Date:12/1/2015)... , ... December 01, 2015 , ... ... 1980s we have seen vast improvements in scientific research and discoveries, leading us ... providing increased hope and relief to those affected by HIV/AIDS. Mediaplanet’s cross-platform edition ...
(Date:12/1/2015)... ... December 01, 2015 , ... The ... been lifted as IMAGE Information Systems launches MED-TAB™ -- the world’s first portable ... Meeting from November 29 to December 4, 2015. , MED-TAB is expected ...
(Date:12/1/2015)... ... December 01, 2015 , ... ... must mark the film for accurate interpretation by the radiologist. The marking utensils ... inventor from Sacramento, Calif., has found a way to alleviate this problem. , ...
(Date:12/1/2015)... San Francisco, CA (PRWEB) , ... December 01, ... ... The Behavioral Health Center of Excellence (BHCOE) today announced that the organization has ... based in San Francisco, with a Distinguished Award. The award celebrates exceptional special ...
(Date:12/1/2015)... ... ... Lutronic, a leading innovator of aesthetic and medical laser and energy-based technology, ... in the United States. Clarity is a Superior Dual Wavelength Platform which combines ... single platform that is easy to own and operate. , For over a ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:12/1/2015)... -- CytRx Corporation (NASDAQ: CYTR ), a biopharmaceutical ... that it has reached its enrollment target of 400 ... trial of aldoxorubicin in patients with previously treated soft ... in Q1 2016. The Phase 3 trial is a randomized, ... from the FDA at 79 sites in ...
(Date:12/1/2015)... Dec. 1, 2015  InCarda Therapeutics, Inc. (InCarda), a ... of therapies for cardiovascular conditions via the inhalation route, ... in Australia . InCarda is planning ... Australia in the first half of ... medical centers in Adelaide and ...
(Date:12/1/2015)... , Dec. 1, 2015  Booth #3506 – Claymount is ... the annual meeting of the Radiological Society of ... this year. Based in the Netherlands ... Varian Medical Systems (NYSE: VAR ) and is one ... chambers and solid state automatic exposure control systems for controlling ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: