Deepa Anagondahalli University of Maryland
Objective: Consideration of future consequences (CFC) describes the extent to which individuals consider potential future outcomes of their present behaviors. This personality trait has been found to predict repetitive health behaviors. Research is yet to explore the role of health beliefs, which may mediate the relationship between CFC and self-directed health behaviors. Thus, this study examined how CFC affects energy drink-related health beliefs and consumption behavior. Design: A cross-sectional correlational online survey with 1,050 college students was conducted. Key measures include the CFC Scale, health belief measures, and current energy drink consumption pattern. Results: CFC was associ- ated with energy drink consumption as well as several health beliefs. CFC had indirect effects on energy drink consumption through health beliefs, including perceived severity of consuming energy drinks (indirect effect estimate � �.191, 95% confidence interval [CI] [–.271, �.122]), perceived benefits of avoiding energy drinks (indirect effect estimate � �.108, 95% CI [–.174, �.050]), and perceived barriers in abstaining from energy drinks (energy level-related barriers, indirect effect estimate � �.274, 95% CI [–.387, �.181]; and socialization-related barriers, indirect effect estimate � .152, 95% CI [.078, .249]). Conclusion: As the first study to examine CFC’s indirect effects on a self-directed health behavior through health beliefs, this study extended CFC’s applicability by examining its role in the context of college students’ energy drink consumption.
Keywords: consideration of future consequences, CFC, energy drink, health communication, health beliefs
Health behaviors often require individuals to endure immediate costs, such as time, money, and pains, to achieve benefits delivered in the future. According to exchange theory (Andreasen & Kotler, 2003; Bagozzi, 1978), individuals engage in a health behavior if they view future health benefits as exceeding or at least equal to the immediate costs associated with performing the behavior. However, research indicates how one weighs future consequences depends on several individual factors (e.g., Daugherty & Brase, 2010; Zimbardo, Keough, & Boyd, 1997).
One such factor is the individual’s consideration of future con- sequences (CFC; Strathman, Gleicher, Boninger, & Edwards, 1994), a measure of individual difference that reflects the extent to which one considers potential future outcomes of a present behav- ior. A related concern is the nature of the health behavior in question, specifically whether the behavior is self-directed (e.g., smoking, drinking) or non-self-directed (e.g., vaccination). Exist- ing research on CFC has mostly focused on non-self-directed behaviors. Few studies, if any, have examined individuals’ health beliefs as a mechanism through which CFC may influence self-
directed health behaviors. The current study attempted to fill this gap by examining CFC’s direct and indirect impacts on energy drink consumption, a self-directed health behavior of increasing popularity and concern and its related health beliefs.
Energy drinks occupy a unique place in today’s health context; they are perceived to be less risky compared to other risky behav- iors such as cigarette smoking but are however evolving into a health concern (Rienzi, 2016). Typically marketed to young adults between the ages of 18 and 34, these beverages contain large doses of caffeine and sugar as well as other stimulants such as ginseng. Energy drinks are increasingly being associated with an expanding list of health concerns such as stress, nervousness, rapid heartbeat, insomnia, increased blood pressure and even death (Avcı, Sari- kaya, & Büyükcam, 2013; Johnson, 2012; Mayo Clinic, 2015; Pettit & DeBarr, 2011). Despite the growing concern over the health effects, the energy drinks industry has experienced a 5,000% growth rate since 1999 and is worth over $27 billion (Ferdman, 2014). In particular, energy drinks are incredibly pop- ular on college campuses and are reportedly used for a variety of reasons, from staying awake to mixing with alcoholic drinks (Attila & Cakir, 2011). Therefore, this consumption trend on campuses, despite the health risks associated with it, warranted an exploration of the rationale to engage in this behavior. One such motive is the consumer’s CFC.
Consideration of Future Consequences
CFC refers to “the extent to which individuals consider the potential distant outcomes of their current behaviors and the extent
This article was published Online First July 20, 2017. Jarim Kim, School of Communication, Kookmin University; Deepa
Anagondahalli, Department of Communication, University of Maryland. Correspondence concerning this article should be addressed to Jarim
Kim, School of Communication, Kookmin University, Bugak Hall #603, 77 Jeongneung-ro, Seongbuk-gu, Seoul 136-702, South Korea. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Health Psychology © 2017 American Psychological Association 2017, Vol. 36, No. 9, 898–906 0278-6133/17/$12.00 http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/hea0000536