The relationship between self-efficacy, attitudes, intake compared to others, consumption, and stages of change related to fruit and vegetables

Am J Health Promot. Sep-Oct 1997;12(1):25-30. doi: 10.4278/0890-1171-12.1.25.


Purpose: This study examined whether eating practices and psychosocial factors differed across stages of change for fruit and vegetables.

Design: Data were collected using a self-administered written survey among a convenience sample of 739 Dutch adults. Response rate was 92%.

Setting: Data were collected as part of the baseline assessment for a nutrition intervention study.

Measures: Fruit and vegetable intake was measured as self-reported consumption with a validated eight-item food frequency questionnaire. Psychosocial variables were measured with six items on bipolar seven-point scales and stage-of-change classifications were based on separate four-item algorithms for fruits and vegetables. Differences in psychosocial factors and consumption were analyzed using one-way analysis of variance with Scheffé's multiple-comparison test.

Results: Significant differences were found between stages of change in dietary intake, attitudes, self-efficacy, and judgment of one's own intake compared to others. Attitudes were most positive in preparation and action and least positive in precontemplation. Intake and self-efficacy were more positive in action/maintenance than in pre-action stages.

Conclusions: The findings suggest that nutrition education aimed at encouraging higher intake of fruits and vegetables might be most effective if it is stage-tailored. Messages to influence attitudes about fruits and vegetables are likely to affect people in precontemplation, and self-efficacy information to increase confidence in overcoming barriers to consumption is likely to be effective with persons in contemplation and preparation stages.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Feeding Behavior*
  • Female
  • Fruit
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice*
  • Humans
  • Internal-External Control*
  • Male
  • Netherlands
  • Vegetables