Forming Implementation Intentions in an Uncontrolled Environment: Not as Simple as It Seems
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Previous research showed the effectiveness of implementation intentions on goal attainment using controlled settings. The aim of this study was to evaluate to what extent people are able to form implementation intentions which benefit goal attainment in an uncontrolled environment. For this purpose, a questionnaire was placed on a website which informed men who have sex with men (MSM) about the possibility of a free hepatitis B virus (HBV) vaccination. Participants of the questionnaire who wanted to make an appointment for a HBV vaccination at a later time or were contemplating making an appointment, were either asked to form implementation intentions or were routed to the control condition. Results show that individuals who formed implementation intentions were more successful in obtaining their goal of making an appointment. Intentions were also a significant predictor of behavioural enactment. The combined effect of strong goal intentions and implementation intentions provided the highest likelihood of goal attainment. Only 33% of the participants were able to form implementation intentions which could be identified as being good. These individuals were more successful in attaining their goals than people who formed poor implementation intentions and participants in the control condition. Forming poor implementation intentions and the control condition did not differ significantly in the probability of successful goal striving. Hence, forming good implementation intentions is important to increases the likelihood of goal attainment. The strength of the goal intentions proved to be a predictor of the quality of the formed implementation intentions.