Hello there, Frida Skarin, PhD student in Psychology ...2020-11-10
... you are are now in the final phase of your PhD studies that focuses on behavioral change. Can you tell us more about your research?
"I am studying psychological factors that contribute to people succeeding to change and maintaining a new behavior in the long run. My doctoral thesis focuses on behavior change through interventions, that is, by the help of targeted measures or services. Targeted efforts can for example be changing people’s travel behavior to start using public transport instead of taking the car, or new behavior in the form of healthy habits such as meditation, regular exercise or eating healthier."
Why is this interesting?
"It is fascinating that basically everyone has something they would like to change, yet it is so difficult to gain and maintain a new behavior. Through interventions, many succeed - at least during the intervention - but often gradually return back to the old behavior. You might think it's about the motivation level, but it's not that simple. Many things affect us and our choices, and it is very interesting and exciting to research."
What do you hope to achieve with your research?
"I hope it will help intervention creators and individuals who want to change a behavior. My research is done within different areas and with different complexity, which makes it useful in many situations. My most recent published article deals with interventions in schools in order to increase well-being among students that can be maintained even after the intervention has ended. This is one example of an area where my research, with fairly simple means, could contribute to helping young peoples’ personal development, and early on learn about health-promoting behavior. There are many organizations that can benefit from my research to increase the well-being of individuals, not least during the ongoing pandemic. I want to help people who want to make major or minor lifestyle changes by providing tools that will make it possible."
What are you working on right now?
"I am working on my last article for my doctoral thesis. It is based on a more complex behavior change and intervention which aims to help people lose weight by creating new behavior concerning both diet and physical activity. The participants must therefore change several behaviors in parallel with each other, and when it comes to the diet, a new behavior needs to be introduced several times a day. The participants pay to participate in this intervention, which is an interesting aspect from a motivational perspective. All in all, it’s a complex study which I hope to be able to present in a simple and easy way to understand."