Hypocrisy, dissonance and the self-regulation processes that improve health

Jeff Stone, Elizabeth Focella

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

28 Scopus citations


This paper explores the use of hypocrisy and cognitive dissonance for motivating changes in health. Hypocrisy occurs when people publicly advocate a health behavior and are then made mindful that they have not performed the target health behavior regularly in the past. The discrepancy poses a threat to their self-integrity, which hypocrites reduce by bringing their own health attitudes and behavior into line with the standards for good health. After examining the research that supports the use of hypocrisy for changing health attitudes and behavior, we finish by discussing how hypocrisy represents a powerful strategy for engaging the self-regulation processes that improve health.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)295-303
Number of pages9
JournalSelf and Identity
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jul 2011


  • Attitudes
  • Behavior change
  • Cognitive dissonance
  • Health
  • Hypocrisy
  • Self-regulation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Psychology


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