Effects of past behavior

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Upadhya, Neha
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Electronic thesis
Cognitive science
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How does past behavior affect future choices? Several different answers exist in the decision-making and behavior change domains, but the focus of previous literature is on merely stating that past behavior can influence intentions, and that people may default to past behavior in the absence of a strong intention. It fails to explain the mechanism of the effects of past behavior, or how it can bridge decision-making and behavior change. One possible way to look at the effects of past behavior is to consider situations where past behavior is not repeated, and understand why and how novel behaviors were adopted. We conducted one such quasi-experiment amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. The COVID-19 pandemic had a significant impact on self-management behaviors used to manage chronic conditions such as diabetes, and diabetics were forced to adapt their behaviors in order to keep up with their self-management during a changing and uncertain environment. We conducted semi-structured interviews on diabetes self-management and COVID-19 was raised in the context of challenges to self-management as part of the wider interview. There were 21 participants with Type 2 diabetes that stated they played a major role in making their food choices. We used content analysis to identify behavior changes resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic. We saw that several different areas of diabetes self-management showed a behavior change as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, and several participants showed adaptations to their self-management routines when there were challenges to past behaviors. Aside from the COVID-19 pandemic, the circumstances in which participants choose new behaviors over past behaviors can be explored in an experimental set-up designed to test different factors that could be used to influence the choice of what behavior to implement.
December 2021
School of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences
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Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Troy, NY
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