The effectiveness of brief information and self-efficacy based interventions in influencing snack choices in homeless individuals

Chris Emmerson, Bev John, Sue Faulkner, Deborah Lancastle, Gareth Roderique-Davies

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Abstract

Background: Homeless adults frequently experience poor nutrition. Research suggests raising self-efficacy and nutritional knowledge can increase healthy eating but that the choice of specific behavioural change techniques is also critical. This study investigated how behavioural change techniques, operationalised to increase nutrition knowledge and self-efficacy might influence the choice of homeless adults when presented with a ‘healthy’ and an ‘unhealthy’ snack.

Method: A total of 125 homeless adults were randomly allocated to watch one of four brief films: ‘control’, ‘[nutrition] information only’, ‘self-efficacy’ (aimed at increasing self-efficacy and general healthy eating knowledge) and ‘enhanced self-efficacy’ (as ‘self-efficacy’, but the presenter identified themselves as a homeless adult). Post-film, participants were invited to choose between a healthy and an unhealthy snack. Data were analysed using ANOVA and chi square.

Results: Participants in the ‘enhanced self-efficacy’ condition were significantly more likely to choose the healthy option compared to those in the control condition; for the ‘self-efficacy’ condition the difference was marginally significant. Perceived knowledge and self-efficacy were significantly associated and those with high self-efficacy were significantly more likely to choose a healthy snack regardless of condition.

Conclusion: Homeless adults are more likely to make healthy snack choices if their nutritional self-efficacy is increased through encouragement by a peer.
Original languageEnglish
Article number293
Number of pages6
JournalFrontiers in Public Health
Volume5
Issue numberNOV
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 6 Nov 2017

Keywords

  • Homelessness
  • Nutrition
  • Self-efficacy
  • Snack Intake
  • Intervention

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