Social control has the potential to encourage engagement in a healthy lifestyle, but its effectiveness may depend on the nature of the influence attempt. Participants (N = 282) described a situation in which someone attempted to influence their health-related behavior. Experiencing positive social control was associated with a greater tendency to change the behavior and less ignoring/doing nothing, whereas negative social control was associated with a lesser tendency to change the behavior and more hiding of unhealthy behavior. These associations could be accounted for by affective responses to the social control attempts. Results emphasize the need to better understand the regulatory influence of relationships on health behavior and the conditions under which social control is most likely to have health-promoting effects.
This report is part of the RAND Corporation External publication series. Many RAND studies are published in peer-reviewed scholarly journals, as chapters in commercial books, or as documents published by other organizations.
Our mission to help improve policy and decisionmaking through research and analysis is enabled through our core values of quality and objectivity and our unwavering commitment to the highest level of integrity and ethical behavior. To help ensure our research and analysis are rigorous, objective, and nonpartisan, we subject our research publications to a robust and exacting quality-assurance process; avoid both the appearance and reality of financial and other conflicts of interest through staff training, project screening, and a policy of mandatory disclosure; and pursue transparency in our research engagements through our commitment to the open publication of our research findings and recommendations, disclosure of the source of funding of published research, and policies to ensure intellectual independence. For more information, visit www.rand.org/about/principles.
The RAND Corporation is a nonprofit institution that helps improve policy and decisionmaking through research and analysis. RAND's publications do not necessarily reflect the opinions of its research clients and sponsors.