Exploring dimensions of health behaviors’ representations

Shoshana Shiloh*, Gabriel Nudelman

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objectives: To discover underlying dimensions of health behavior representations and to suggest a new framework for their investigation. Methods: A total of 1709 participants rated 45 health behaviors on 14 theoretical constructs denoting features by which individuals can cognitively represent health behaviors. Correlations among constructs were aggregated across behaviors using a meta-analytic approach, and subjected to factor analysis. Results: The analysis resulted in three interpretable dimensions: ‘Importance’, ‘Negative Experience’ and ‘Ease’, and one tentative factor, ‘Other’. Conclusion: ‘Importance’, ‘Negative Experience’ and ‘Ease’ may be considered key dimensions for studying perceptions of health behaviors within a self-regulatory framework. These dimensions suggest new integrative and parsimonious ways for investigating health behaviors. The findings also highlight the importance of expanding the category of health behaviors to include psycho-social behaviors (e.g. stress management, social relationships), and the need for theoretical refinement of affective constructs anticipated during and after performance of health behaviors. This may improve the understanding and potential modification of health behaviors.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1017-1032
Number of pages16
JournalPsychology and Health
Issue number8
StatePublished - 2 Aug 2020


  • Health behaviors
  • cognitive representations
  • theory development


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