Prototype-distancing in the Promotion of Healthy Eating: how and When can it be Reached?
1University of Education Schwäbisch Gmünd, Department of educational and health psychology, Germany
Background: To perceive the prototypical unhealthy eater more negative (prototype-distancing) represents a relevant target in the promotion of healthy eating. What, however, if adolescents perceive high similarity to the unhealthy eater? Two intervention studies were conducted to test how and when prototype-distancing can be reached. Methode: Study 1 (n=211) conveyed a negative unhealthy eater image via feedback of pilotstudy results. Study 2 (n=93) used imaginary Facebook-profiles with an instruction to contrast from the profile person. The control groups received no feedback or healthy eater profiles with an instruction to identify with the profile person. Perceived prototype similarity was tested as moderator of intervention effects. Findings: In adolescents perceiving high similarity to the unhealthy eater, the perception of the unhealthy eater did not became more negative after receiving negative image information only (Study 1) but if contrasting was initiated (Study 2). Discussion: Prototype-distancing can be reached in adolescents perceiving high similarity to the unhealthy eater prototype by presenting a negative prototype and initiating adequate comparison processes.