Research Article| Volume 49, ISSUE 2, P100-106.e1, February 2017

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The Role of Social Support and Self-efficacy for Planning Fruit and Vegetable Intake

  • Guangyu Zhou
    Department of Health Promotion, Education, and Behavior & South Carolina SmartState Center for Healthcare Quality (CHQ), Arnold School of Public Health, University of South Carolina, Columbia, SC
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  • Yiqun Gan
    Address for correspondence: Yiqun Gan, PhD, Beijing Key Laboratory of Behavior and Mental Health, Department of Psychology, Peking University, Beijing 100871, China; Phone: (86-10) 62757271; Fax: (86-10) 63268050
    School of Psychological and Cognitive Sciences and Beijing Key Laboratory of Behavior and Mental Health, Department of Psychology, Peking University, Beijing, China
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  • Kyra Hamilton
    School of Applied Psychology, Griffith University, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia

    School of Psychology and Speech Pathology, Curtin University, Perth, Western Australia, Australia
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  • Ralf Schwarzer
    Department of Psychology, Free University of Berlin, Berlin, Germany

    Department of Clinical, Health, and Rehabilitation Psychology, University of Social Sciences and Humanities, Warsaw, Poland
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Published:October 22, 2016DOI:



      The aim of the current study was to examine the joint effect of self-efficacy, action planning, and received social support on fruit and vegetable intake.


      The study used a longitudinal design with 3 waves of data collection.


      Major university campus in Beijing, China.


      Young adults (n = 286).

      Variables Measured

      Age, gender, body mass index, dietary self-efficacy, and baseline behavior were measured at time 1. Two weeks after time 1, received social support and action planning were assessed (time 2); 4 weeks after time 1, subsequent fruit and vegetable consumption was measured (time 3).


      In a path analysis, action planning at time 2 was specified as a mediator between self-efficacy at time 1 and fruit and vegetable intake at time 3, controlling for age, gender, body mass index, and baseline behavior. In addition, in a conditional process analysis, received social support at time 2 was specified as a moderator of the self-efficacy–planning relationship.


      Action planning mediated between self-efficacy and subsequent dietary behavior, and received social support moderated between self-efficacy and planning supporting a compensation effect. Action planning served as a proximal predictor of fruit and vegetable intake, and planning one's consumption was facilitated by dietary self-efficacy.

      Conclusions and Implications

      Through the identification of social cognitive factors influencing dietary planning, interventions can target self-efficacy and received social support to test the efficacy of these mechanisms in increasing individuals' ability to ensure they consume adequate amounts of fruits and vegetables.

      Key Words

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