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Open Access Publications from the University of California

This series is automatically populated with publications deposited by UC Merced Department of Psychology researchers in accordance with the University of California’s open access policies. For more information see Open Access Policy Deposits and the UC Publication Management System.

Cover page of Non-Suicidal Self-Injury Among Adolescents: A Structural Model with Socioecological Connectedness, Bullying Victimization, and Depression.

Non-Suicidal Self-Injury Among Adolescents: A Structural Model with Socioecological Connectedness, Bullying Victimization, and Depression.


The objective was to examine the associations of socioecological connectedness with bullying victimization and depressive symptoms in early adolescence and with non-suicidal self-injury (NSSI) in mid-adolescence, and how these might differ between genders. Diverse adolescents (N = 4115; 49.1% girls) in the 7th grade reported on connections with parents/family, peers, school, and neighborhood, as well as bullying victimization and depressive symptoms, and NSSI in 10th grade (Me = 16.1 years). Structural equation modeling with WSLMV indicated that the lower likelihood of NSSI in 10th grade was associated with higher perceptions of connections between adolescents and their families, both directly as well as indirectly through reduced bully victimization and depressive symptoms three years earlier. Higher school connectedness was indirectly associated with the lower likelihood of NSSI through bullying victimization and depressive symptoms. Paths to NSSI varied for girls and boys. Results advance the understanding of developmental pathways leading to NSSI in adolescent girls and boys.

"The Best Laid Plans": Do Individual Differences in Planfulness Moderate Effects of Implementation Intention Interventions?


While there is good evidence supporting the positive effect of planning strategies like implementation intentions on the relationship between intention and behavior, there is less evidence on the moderating role of individual differences in planning capacity on this effect. This study aimed to examine the role of individual differences in planfulness on the effect of planning strategies on the intention-behavior gap. Specifically, this study investigated the influence of planfulness on the effectiveness of implementation intentions on goal-directed behavior using an experimental design. Undergraduate university students (N = 142) with high and low levels of planfulness based on a priori scores on a planfulness measure were randomized to either a planning (implementation intention) or familiarization (control) condition prior to completing a computerized go no-go task. We predicted that individuals reporting low levels of planfulness would be more effective in executing goal-directed behavior when prompted to form an implementation intention compared to individuals who do not receive a prompt. Additionally, we predicted that individuals reporting high planfulness would be equally effective in enacting goal-directed behaviour regardless of whether they formed an implementation intention. The results revealed no main or interaction effects of implementation intention manipulation and planfulness on task reaction times. The current results do not provide support for the moderating effect of planfulness on the implementation effect. The findings of this study were inconsistent with previous literature. This research has implications for the effectiveness of implementation intentions, as well as opportunities for further replication in a novel research area.

Moving from intention to behaviour: a randomised controlled trial protocol for an app-based physical activity intervention (i2be).



Efficacy tests of physical activity interventions indicate that many have limited or short-term efficacy, principally because they do not sufficiently build on theory-based processes that determine behaviour. The current study aims to address this limitation.

Methods and analysis

The efficacy of the 8-week intervention will be tested using a three-condition randomised controlled trial delivered through an app, in women with a prior hypertensive pregnancy disorder. The intervention is based on the integrated behaviour change model, which outlines the motivational, volitional and automatic processes that lead to physical activity. The mechanisms by which the behaviour change techniques lead to physical activity will be tested.Following stratification on baseline factors, participants will be randomly allocated in-app to one of three conditions (1:1:1). The information condition will receive information, replicating usual care. Additionally to what the information condition receives, the motivation condition will receive content targeting motivational processes. Additionally to what the motivation condition receives, the action condition will receive content targeting volitional and automatic processes.The primary outcome is weekly minutes of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity, as measured by an activity tracker (Fitbit Inspire 2). Secondary outcomes include weekly average of Fitbit-measured daily resting heart rate, and self-reported body mass index, waist-hip ratio, cardiorespiratory fitness and subjective well-being. Tertiary outcomes include self-reported variables representing motivational, volitional, and automatic processes. Outcome measures will be assessed at baseline, immediately post-intervention, and at 3 and 12 months post-intervention. Physical activity will also be investigated at intervention midpoint. Efficacy will be determined by available case analysis. A process evaluation will be performed based on programme fidelity and acceptability measures.

Ethics and dissemination

The Medical Ethics Committee of the Erasmus MC has approved this study (MEC-2020-0981). Results will be published in peer reviewed scientific journals and presented at scientific conferences.

Trial registration number

Netherlands trial register, NL9329.

Developing an open science 'mindset'.



Identification of widespread biases present in reported research findings in many scientific disciplines, including psychology, such as failures to replicate and the likely extensive application of questionable research practices, has raised serious concerns over the reliability and trustworthiness of scientific research. This has led to the development of, and advocacy for, 'open science' practices, including data, materials, analysis, and output sharing, pre-registration of study predictions and analysis plans, and increased access to published research findings. Implementation of such practices has been enthusiastic in some quarters, but literacy in, and adoption of, these practices has lagged behind among many researchers in the scientific community.


In the current article I propose that researchers adopt an open science 'mindset', a comprehensive approach to open science predicated on researchers' operating under the basic assumption that, wherever possible, open science practices will be a central component of all steps of their research projects. The primary, defining feature of the mindset is a commitment to open science principles in all research projects from inception to dissemination. Other features of the mindset include the assumption that all components of research projects (e.g. pre-registered hypotheses, protocols, materials, analysis plans, data, and output) will be accessible broadly; pro-active selection of open fora to disseminate research components and findings; open and transparent dissemination of reports of the research findings in advance of, and after, formal publication; and active promotion of open science practices through education, modeling, and advocacy.


The open science mindset is a 'farm to fork' approach to open science aimed at promoting comprehensive quality in application of open science, and widening participation in open science practices so that they become the norm in research in health psychology and behavioral medicine going forward.

A Dual-Process Model Applied to Two Health-Promoting Nutrition Behaviours.


We tested a dual process model incorporating constructs that reflect both performing the target behaviour (behaviour directed habit) and habits that run counter to the target behaviour (opposing behaviour habit) in accounting for variance in two health behaviours: eating the recommended serves of fruits and vegetables a day and restricting sugar-sweetened beverage consumption. A prospective correlational design with two waves of data collection separated by one week was adopted. Participants (N = 606) comprising middle school students (n = 266) and university students (n = 340) completed an initial survey comprising self-report measures of past behaviour, intention, and habit to perform the target behaviour and habits that run counter to the target behaviour. One week later, participants (N = 414) completed a self-reported measure of behaviour. Results revealed that behaviour directed habits predicted fruit and vegetable consumption in both samples, while opposing behaviour habits predicted restriction of sugar-sweetened beverages in the middle-school sample only, with a moderating effect also observed. Current findings indicate that habits specifying avoidance of the target behaviour did not predict future behaviour. However, the moderating effect observed provides preliminary evidence that strong habits to perform a behaviour may override habit to avoid the behaviour.

Cover page of Bilingual advantages in executive functioning: Evidence from a low-income sample

Bilingual advantages in executive functioning: Evidence from a low-income sample


Recent research suggests that bilinguals might exhibit advantages in several areas of executive function, including working memory, inhibitory control, and attentional control. However, few studies have examined potential bilingual advantages within lower socioeconomic status (SES) populations. Here we addressed this gap in the literature by investigating whether low-SES Spanish–English bilingual preschoolers exhibited advantages in executive function relative to two monolingual control groups (English, Spanish). Across three experiments, bilingual children exhibited superior performance on two different measures of visual–spatial memory, as well as measures of inhibitory and attentional control. These results suggest that bilinguals exhibit broad advantages in executive function during the preschool years, and these advantages are evident within a disadvantaged, low-SES population.

Cover page of The Role of Risk Perceptions and Affective Consequences in COVID-19 Protective Behaviors.

The Role of Risk Perceptions and Affective Consequences in COVID-19 Protective Behaviors.



Slowing the spread of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) requires behavioral changes such as physical distancing (e.g., staying a 6-foot distance from others, avoiding mass gatherings, reducing houseguests), wearing masks, reducing trips to nonessential business establishments, and increasing hand washing. Like other health behaviors, COVID-19 related behaviors may be related to risk representations. Risk representations are the cognitive responses a person holds about illness risk such as, identity (i.e., label/characteristics of risk), cause (i.e., factors causing condition), timeline (i.e., onset/duration of risk), consequences (i.e., intrapersonal/interpersonal outcomes), behavioral efficacy (i.e., if and how the condition can be controlled/treated), and illness risk coherence (i.e., extent to which representations, behaviors, and beliefs are congruent). The current study applies the Common-Sense Model of Self-Regulation (CSM-SR) to evaluate how risk representations may relate to COVID-19 protective and risk behaviors.


Participants include 400 workers from Amazon's Mechanical Turk aged ≥ 18 years and US residents. Participants completed an online survey measuring risk representations (B-IPQ) and COVID-19 related behaviors, specifically, physical distancing, hand washing, and shopping frequency.


Risk coherence, consequences, timeline, emotional representation, and behavioral efficacy were related to risk and protective behaviors.


Risk representations vary in their relationship to COVID-19 risk and protective behaviors. Implications include the importance of coherent, targeted, consistent health communication, and effective health policy in mitigating the spread of COVID-19.

Beliefs and Experiences of Individuals Following a Zero-Carb Diet.


The adoption of carbohydrate-restrictive diets to improve health is increasing in popularity, but there is a dearth of research on individuals who choose to severely restrict or entirely exclude carbohydrates. The present study investigated the beliefs and experiences of individuals following a diet that severely limits, or entirely excludes, dietary carbohydrates, colloquially known as a 'zero-carb' diet, for at least 6 months. Zero-carb dieters (n = 170) recruited via a social networking site completed an online qualitative survey prompting them to discuss their motives, rationale, and experiences of following a low-carb diet. Transcripts of participants' responses were analyzed using inductive thematic analysis. Results revealed that participants' decision to follow a zero-carb diet was driven by health concerns and benefits. Participants expressed a strong social identity and belongingness to online zero-carb communities. Participants reported strong intentions to follow the diet indefinitely. Shortcomings of the diet centered on experienced stigma; lack of support from healthcare providers and significant others; limited access to, and high cost of, foods; and limited scientific data on the diet. Further research into the benefits and shortcomings of zero-carb diets across settings and populations is warranted, and guidelines for healthcare professionals on how to support individuals following a zero-carb diet are needed.