Behavioral and Social/Cognitive Approaches to Forming Habits

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Behavioral and Social/Cognitive Approaches to Forming Habits According to the American Psychological Association, “Obesity is a condition marked by excess accumulation of body fat. Genetic factors play a key role in obesity, but so do behavioral factors — especially eating too much and exercising too little.” Behavioral and social/cognitive theories approach the habit from two different perspectives and both theories can explain reasoning behind the habit. However creating a plan that will apply operant conditioning can change a habit.

A child can be in a normal weight range up until a specific age, once that child turned ten they began to gain weight. As a child, the environment around them tends to be a major influence on behavior; however when looking at examples such as close relatives their eating habits appeared to be similar over the generations as well as their size. The eating habits the child has formed, which contributed to their weight gain, could be because of the influence specific people have in their life such as family members or a habit formed due to their environment. Growing up and being told not to move until your plate is empty or that you can’t have dessert until all your vegetables are gone, were common statements that a child may hear and actions that they watched their families make. Other factors such as growing up in a single parent household with a parent that didn’t have time to cook and constantly fed their children the dollar menu could impact that child’s later habits in life. Now when that child is an adult they continue the same eating habits constantly finishing everything on their plate or frequently eating out to save time and is facing obesity as the result.

In order to change this habit and individual may consider using operant conditioning. Operant conditioning uses a reward/punishment system to reinforce behaviors and is more closely used during social cognitive therapy. There may be various factors or theories...
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