Hello! Welcome to The Healthy Habits Lab!


Photo by Michael “Mike” L. Baird bairdphotos.com https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/us/

With the ultimate goal of helping individuals and their healthcare providers to prevent and/or manage chronic illness, our lab’s work aims to:

1) Identify the universal and behavior-specific processes and mechanisms of health-habit development in order to design, test, and implement tailored interventions (for example, depending on the findings of this research, interventions may be tailored to the particular behavior, to specific barriers or stages of habit-development, or to specific characteristics of the individual).

Flickr/e-MagineArt.com https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

2) Create a communication system, or protocol, through which healthcare providers can utilize knowledge of health-habit developmental processes to: a) facilitate new habit development in their patients (i.e., promote adherence to newly prescribed behaviors); and b) identify the existence of and reasons for non-adherence to previously prescribed behaviors, so that the provider can refer “non-adherent” individuals to problem-specific interventions. We have several ongoing and planned research projects specific to exercise habits and medication/supplement adherence.

3) Design interventions to promote healthy behaviors in the long-term, such as regular exercise! For example, using mobile phone applications to help individuals set up new routines, gain self-efficacy (i.e., learn that the individual can actually do the behavior) and behavior-response efficacy (i.e., learn the behavior is actually working for the individual), and development intrinsic motivation to engage in the behavior (i.e., get the individual to WANT to do the behavior!) and self-identification with the behavior.

A special sub-category of our research involves researching the effect of military veterans’ perceptions of their medically unexplained symptoms (MUS) on their recovery from or management of the symptoms; the effect of perceived disagreement between veterans and their physicians’ regarding the cause and control of the MUS; and the effect of physicians’ communication about MUS to veterans on these factors.


Photo credit: Flickr/Minnesota National Guard, Women’s Veterans of Minnesota https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nd/2.0/