International Journal of Behavioral Medicine

, Volume 25, Issue 4, pp 421–430 | Cite as

Fruit and Vegetable Intake: the Interplay of Planning, Social Support, and Sex

  • Daniela Lange
  • Jana Corbett
  • Nina Knoll
  • Ralf Schwarzer
  • Sonia Lippke



Intention and planning are important predictors of dietary change. However, little attention has been given yet to the relationship between them as a function of other social-cognitive factors and their interplay with socio-demographics such as sex.


In an observational study (1520 women, 430 men) with two measurement points in time, intention (predictor), planning (mediator), social support (first moderator), and sex (second moderator) were assessed to predict changes in diet separately for fruit and vegetable intake.


All predictors had a main effect on fruit intake but no interactions emerged. For vegetable intake, the mediation-chain was qualified by a three-way interaction: for women, the lower the perceived social support, the more the translation of planning into behavior; for men, the higher the perceived social support, the more the translation of planning into behavior.


Even though intention and planning are predictors of dietary change, they operate differently under specific conditions (level of social support), for specific subgroups (men vs. women), and for different target behaviors (fruit vs. vegetable intake). These results suggest to further examine the mechanisms by which intentions are translated into behavior via planning.


Fruit and vegetable intake Intention Planning Social support Sex differences 



The authors wish to thank Kureva Pritchard Matuku and Maria Bianca Leonte for their support in copy editing the manuscript.

Authors’ contributions

DL conceived of and designed the project, recruited participants, collected the questionnaires, analyzed the data, and drafted the manuscript. SL and JC helped designing the study, recruiting participants, and collecting the questionnaires. NK supported the data analysis and drafting the manuscript. RS and SL oversaw the project in terms of progress and analysis, provided expertise as a researcher, and helped draft the manuscript. All authors were involved in the interpretation of the data and revising the manuscript.


The author(s) disclosed receipt of the following financial support for the research, authorship, and/or publication of this article: The work, which led to this article, was partially funded by a research grant from the German Ministry of Education and Research (Bundesministerium für Bildung und Forschung, BMBF, within the framework “Engagement-Learning-Competence Development: Innovation for a Modern Working World” [“Arbeiten-Lernen-Kompetenzen entwickeln. Innovationsfähigkeit in einer modernen Arbeitswelt”], Grant No. 01HH12002).

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethics Approval

The study procedures were approved by the ethics committee of the unit of health psychology at the first authors’ home institution. Written informed consent was provided by all study participants before receiving the baseline questionnaires.

Consent for Publication

All authors read and approved the final manuscript and agreed to the publication of this manuscript or a revised version of it.


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Copyright information

© International Society of Behavioral Medicine 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Daniela Lange
    • 1
  • Jana Corbett
    • 2
  • Nina Knoll
    • 1
  • Ralf Schwarzer
    • 1
    • 3
  • Sonia Lippke
    • 4
  1. 1.Health PsychologyFreie Universität BerlinBerlinGermany
  2. 2.School of Psychological ScienceOregon State UniversityCorvallisUSA
  3. 3.SWPS University of Social Sciences and HumanitiesWarsawPoland
  4. 4.Jacobs Center on Lifelong Learning and Institutional DevelopmentJacobs University BremenBremenGermany

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