Impact of negative mood on health goals’ perception

  • E. Plys
  • O. Desrichard


Negative mood is known to be related to poorer health behaviours (HBs; e.g., Hearon et al., 2013). We hypothesize that this relationship may be mediated by health goals (HGs): bad mood may affect HGs’ perception which in turn may influence HBs. In this study we explore the first part of this hypothesis: impact of mood on HGs’ perception. 118 people (18 to 75 years old) participated in our on-line study. They were asked to write down one HG and three health-unrelated goals. Then, using the Personal Project Analysis they evaluated their HG on 17 dimensions (importance, difficulty, pleasure or stress related to the goal etc.) and the degree of conflict/facilitation of the HG with health-unrelated goals. Next, participants filled in the Positive and Negative Affect Scale as a measure of chronic mood state and a socio-demographic questionnaire. We performed a multivariate regression which showed that negative mood predicted goal initiation (B=.028, p<.05), goal related stress (B=.157, p<.05), congruency between goal and participants’ identity (B=-.109, p<.05), and congruency between goal and participants’ values (B=-.077, p<.05). Goal’s perception wasn’t predicted by positive mood. Our results showed that negative mood alters the HG perception. According to previous findings, congruency between the goal and one’s values and identity is important for the goal adoption. Thus, low congruency between goals and values and goals and identity in people with chronic negative mood may negatively influence HGs’ adoption and potentially affect their HBs. Higher stress may also diminish their motivation to work on their HGs.
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