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Int J Aging Hum Dev. 2004;59(3):205-34.

The attainment of important health goals throughout adulthood: an integration of the theory of planned behavior and aspects of social support.

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  • 1College of Human Development and Psychology, University of Wisconsin-Green Bay, 54311-7001, USA.


This research integrates the Theory of Planned Behavior (TPB) with aspects of social support and explores the utility of variables within each model in predicting the attainment of important health goals. Incorporating an idiographic methodology, 290 respondents ranging in age from 27 to 87 years were administered a postal survey and completed a brief follow-up telephone survey months later. The postal survey included measures of respondent's most important health goals, attitudes, motivation to comply with subjective norms, control beliefs, behavioral intention, and plan-of-action for attaining the health goal, as well as aspects of social support. The follow-up telephone survey inquired into respondents' successful goal attainment and health. Results indicate association, between TPB components and aspects of social support. Further, the emotional and instrumental support provided by a family member or friend and size of social support network were found to be unique predictors of health goal attainment after controlling for TPB components. The importance of personalized goals and social support in designing health interventions for older adults is discussed.

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