Social exchange processes and health behaviour: new findings from innovative studies


  • J. Inauen
  • P. Rackow
  • G.(. Stadler
  • K. Horodyska
  • H. Giese
  • U. Scholz


Aims: To present most recent findings on social exchange processes and health behaviour. The empirical studies will further showcase how innovative research designs and analysis methods (e.g. network analysis, ecological momentary interventions) advance our understanding of social exchange processes in daily life, and at different levels of social interaction (at the dyad or group level). In the discussion, we will integrate the new findings into the existing literature on social exchange processes and health behaviour, and will point out future directions in the field. Rationale: Social exchange processes, such as social support, companionship, and social influence, are gaining increasing attention in health psychology. They are assumed highly relevant at all stages of health behaviour change. Innovative studies at the dyad and group level are needed to deal with the added complexity of taking into account the diverse social surroundings when explaining and changing health behaviour. Summary: Gertraud Stadler will present results from two intensive longitudinal dyadic studies about the interplay of social support and companionship in couples, and how this relates to well-being and smoking cessation. Next, Karolina Horodyska’s longitudinal dyadic study will provide insight, how parent-child perceptions about physical activity-related barriers and facilitators are associated with child body mass index. Pamela Rackow will then present results from a longitudinal study that answers the question, which network members provide different facets of social support or control related to exercise. Afterwards, Helge Giese will present data from a longitudinal social network study on how friends influence each-others’ alcohol consumption – through their own consumption or through social norms. Jennifer Inauen then presents an ecological momentary intervention trial on how smartphone-based groups support each other to eat more healthily. Finally, Urte Scholz will synthesise the findings, and will point out future directions for research in this field.