Health Behaviors, Goals, and Expected Health Behavior Changes in Engaged Couples
Waugh, Anne Meredith
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The current study was conducted to provide information about current health behaviors and personal and shared health goals in engaged, monogamous couples and their expectations for health behavior changes after marriage in both themselves and their partner. Two hundred and eighty couples completed a questionnaire about their own and partners health goals, current health behaviors, and expectations of change in both their own and their partners’ health behaviors after marriage. There was a range of similar health habits found within couples (e.g. if a regular exercise schedule was followed over the past year, number of days exercising per week, smoking, getting a seasonal flu shot, hours of sleep per night). Results also showed that participants with less healthy lifestyles (e.g. poor exercise habits and poor diet) and participants who did not cohabitate with their partner had greater expectations of health behavior changes after marriage significantly more often. Participants who had a current personal goal also expected health behavior change after marriage more often while shared health goals did not have a significant impact on expecting a health behavior change after marriage. These results show who could benefit from potential health interventions. Couples may benefit from supporting one another's goals but it may be beneficial to promote personal goals rather than a shared goal within marriage. These results show that individuals with poor health behaviors desire to change, often wishing to become healthier, and may benefit from guidance that will support them into a healthier lifestyle.
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