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New Year's resolutions: A large scale randomized controlled trial
Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Psychology, Clinical psychology.
Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Psychology, Clinical psychology.
2017 (English)Conference paper, Oral presentation with published abstract (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

Introduction: At the start of every new year, millions of people around the world pledge to change some aspect of their lives. More often than not, New Year’s resolutions relate to positive behavior changes, such as quitting bad habits and forming new and more beneficial ones. Unfortunately, most people who try to lose weight, quit smoking or start exercising fail, most of them during the first three months. The aim of this ongoing study is to investigate the different categories of New Year’s resolutions among Swedes, to what degree they succeed in keeping their resolutions, and whether internet-administered support based on cognitive behavior therapy may increase the participants’ chances of keeping their resolutions.

Methods: The study is a three-arm randomized control trial comparing two different levels of support and one control condition. During the year, participants rate their perceived success in keeping their resolutions. Data from online questionnaires regarding subjective well-being, quality of life, procrastination and self-efficacy is also collected at baseline as well as at follow-up three weeks into the following year.

Results: A total of 1 066 participants were included in the study. Ten months in we have preliminary results regarding the categories of New Year’s resolutions. More than 70% of the participants report one or more resolutions falling into the “physical health” category. The second largest category is “self-improvement” (10%), followed by “psychological health” (5%). A majority of resolutions, 64%, are phrased as approach-oriented goals and 34% as avoidance-oriented goals.

Discussion: We believe that this is the largest study of its kind to date. Smaller longitudinal studies of New Year’s resolvers have been published, but none in Sweden. Furthermore, very few studies on positive behavior change have evaluated active interventions to increase participants’ chances of success. Future analyses will provide insight into New Year’s resolutions among Swedes and whether short, non-personal information and exercises administered via email may increase their chances of success.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2017. 11-11 p.
Keyword [en]
New Year's Resolutions, behavior change, CBT, support, procrastination
National Category
Psychology
Research subject
Psychology
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-149191OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-149191DiVA: diva2:1158602
Conference
9th Swedish Congress on internet interventions (SWEsrii), Linköping, Sweden, November 3, 2017
Available from: 2017-11-20 Created: 2017-11-20 Last updated: 2017-12-17

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