The impact of social comparison information on motivation in patients with diabetes as a function of regulatory focus and self-efficacy

Marike C. Schokker, Joost C. Keers, Jelte Bouma, Thera P Links, Robbert Sanderman, Bruce H R Wolffenbuttel, Mariët Hagedoorn

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


OBJECTIVE: Our aim was to determine whether the impact of upward and downward social comparison information on individuals' motivation to manage their diabetes is dependent on their regulatory focus (promotion or prevention focus) and self-efficacy.

DESIGN: The hypotheses were examined in a cross-sectional study. Patients with diabetes (N = 234) read a fictitious interview with a fellow patient, either an upward or a downward target, and they filled out questionnaires.

MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Motivation to work on diabetes regulation.

RESULTS: High promotion-focused patients reported more motivation than low promotion-focused patients when confronted with the upward target (positive role model). High prevention-focused patients reported more motivation than low prevention-focused patients when confronted with the downward target (negative role model). This latter finding was qualified by patients' self-efficacy, as it applied only to patients with relatively high levels of self-efficacy.

CONCLUSION: The current study highlights the importance of considering individual differences when using role models to encourage self-care activities in persons with diabetes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)438-445
JournalHealth psychology : official journal of the Division of Health Psychology, American Psychological Association
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2010



  • social comparison
  • regulatory focus
  • diabetes mellitus
  • motivation
  • self management
  • self efficacy
  • patients

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