Understanding behavioural clusters: Identifying differences between clusters of health behaviours on key constructs

Gabriel Nudelman*, Shoshana Shiloh

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective: To uncover the rationale underlying the perceived distinction between clusters of health behaviours by identifying cognitive constructs that differentiate among them, and creating a ‘cognitive profile’ for each behavioural cluster. Thus, different determinants and characteristics of health behaviours (e.g. ‘perceived behavioural control’, ‘impact on health’, ‘effort’, ‘non-health rewards’, ‘habit’) were used to compare health behaviour meta-clusters (physical and psychosocial) and clusters (e.g. nutrition behaviours, substance abuse, medical practices). Methods: A sample of lay people (N = 1956) judged items representing behavioural clusters delineated in the Health Behaviour Taxonomy on 14 constructs. Results: Significant differences emerged between the physical and psychosocial meta-clusters, as well as among their sub-clusters. For example, physical behaviours were higher on ‘perceived behavioural control’ and ‘impact on health’ compared to psychosocial behaviours, and nutrition was perceived highest on ‘effort’ and ‘non-health rewards’ compared to the other clusters of the physical meta-cluster. Conclusion: The findings increase our understanding of the logic underlying lay people’s cognitive schema of health behaviour clusters. ‘Cognitive profiles’ that explain differences between the clusters were identified, which can be used to design health messages and interventions targeting multiple health behaviours.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1375-1390
Number of pages16
JournalPsychology and Health
Issue number12
StatePublished - 1 Dec 2016


  • behavioural clusters
  • cognitive construct
  • health behaviour taxonomy
  • health behaviours
  • physical
  • psychosocial


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