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Title: How to Get the Elderly to Exercise More: Self-Esteem and Hypocrisy Effects on Exercise in the Elderly
Authors: Tarakchian, Annie
Advisors: Cooper, Joel
Department: Psychology
Class Year: 2016
Abstract: Cognitive dissonance has effectively been used in the past for pro-health and pro-social purposes; therefore, it was worthwhile to explore its effects within the elderly, a group that could highly benefit from the physical and mental advantages associated with exercise. Our study asked 38 elderly participants to write a statement advocating exercise and then prompted the experimental group to indicate reasons why they have not exercised in the past, so as to induce a sense of hypocrisy. Knowing that self-esteem is often a moderator of cognitive dissonance, we chose to analyze the effects of self-esteem within both hypocrisy and control conditions. We hypothesized that elderly with high self-esteem will experience more dissonance and, consequently, will show the greatest change in their attitude and/or behavior toward exercise. Results confirmed that participants with high self-esteem who experienced the hypocrisy stimuli had significant intentions to increase their levels of exercise. Interestingly, the greatest increase in intended exercise (the difference between the frequency with which participants planned to exercise in the future and their past commitment to exercise) was found within the low self-esteem control condition. The implications of these findings for self-esteem, dissonance and health of the elderly were discussed.
Extent: 56 pages
Type of Material: Princeton University Senior Theses
Language: en_US
Appears in Collections:Psychology, 1930-2020

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