Healthy snacks consumption and the Theory of Planned Behaviour. The role of anticipated regret


  • L. Canova
  • A.M. Manganelli
  • A. Bobbio


Two empirical studies explored the role of anticipated regret (AR) within the Theory of Planned Behavior (TPB) framework (Ajzen, 1991), applied to the case of healthy snacks consumption. AR captures affective reactions and it can be defined as an unpleasant emotion experienced when people realize or imagine that the present situation would be better if they had made a different decision. In this research AR refers to the expected negative feelings for not having consumed healthy snacks (i.e., inaction regret). The aims were: a) to test whether AR improves the TPB predictive power; b) to analyze whether it acts as moderator within the TPB model relationships. Two longitudinal studies were conducted. Target behaviors were: consumption of fruit and vegetables as snacks (Study 1); consumption of fruit as snacks (Study 2). At time 1, the questionnaire included measures of intention and its antecedents, according to the TPB. Both the affective and evaluative components of attitude were assessed. At time 2, self-reported consumption behaviors were surveyed. Two convenience samples of Italian adults were recruited. In hierarchical regressions, the TPB variables were added at the first step; AR was added at the second step, and the interactions at the last step. Results showed that AR significantly improved the TPB ability to predict both intentions and behaviours, also after controlling for intention. In both studies AR moderated the effect of affective attitude on intention: affective attitude was significant only for people low in AR.





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