Contextualizing Health Behavior


In this line of research based on the Health Behavior Goal Model (Gebhardt, 1997; Maes & Gebhardt, 2000), I have, since 1992, focused on the underlying meaning attached to the goals individuals pursue, from the conviction that we can only understand behavior when we know the motives behind it, and how they are imbedded in the whole conglomerate of other important individual goals. Consequently, I study motives that underlie health behaviors (e.g., sexual motives) and how they may influence behavioral choices within specific contexts (e.g., casual or steady partners, or condom placement preferences in stores). In addition, the distinct processes of goal facilitation, goal conflict, and goal frustration as well as their impact on behavior are within my main research interests.


Physically active in the neighborhood (ZonMW, 2012)

The effects of the public smoking ban on current smokers’ smoking behavior and (self)conceptions, and implications for governmental communication (Miro/Pfizer, 2009)

Testing a theory on continued abstinence and relapse among ex-smokers and developing an internet-based computer system for individualized feedback (ZonMW, 2006; PI Arie Dijkstra)

After the Health Check in vulnerable groups: a individually tailored self-management intervention led by Community Health Workers (Lekker Lang Leven, 2010; PI Matty Crone/Sandra van Dijk)

Study on the influence of emotions and implementation intentions for the reduction of alcohol abuse among students (Leiden University Fund/ Gratama stichting-Byvanck Fund, 2005)

Preparing young people for unanticipated and unplanned sexual encounters: A theory- and evidence-based approach to program development in the context of safe sex. (ZonMW, 2005; PI Pepijn van Empelen).


Obtain the fulltext of most of my publications at Researchgate.

Hendriks, H., van den Putte, B., & Gebhardt, W.A. (2018). Alcoholposts on social networking sites: the Alcoholpost-Typology (APT). Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking, 21(7), 463-467.

Hendriks, H., van den Putte, B., Gebhardt, W.A. & Moreno, M. (2018). Social drinking on social media: A content analysis of the social aspects of alcohol-related posts on Facebook and Instagram. Journal of Medical Internet Research, 20(6), e226.

Kunst, L.E. & Gebhardt, W.A. (2018). Prevalence and psychosocial correlates of party-drug use and associated problems among university students in the Netherlands”. Substance Use and Misuse, 53(12), 2077-2088.

Cardol, C.K., Escamilla, C.I., Gebhardt, W.A. & Perales, J.C. (2018). Exploring the direct or inverse association of physical activity with behavioral addictions and other self-regulation problems. Addiciones, 926.

Hendriks, H., Gebhardt, W.A. & van den Putte, S.J.H.M. (2017). Alcohol-related posts from young people on social networking sites: Content and motivations. Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking, 20(7): 428-435.

Gebhardt, W.A. (2017). Multiple goal perspective and social identification processes. Addiction, 112(3), 396-398. 

Kenter, E.J., Gebhardt, W.A., Lottman, I., van Rossum, M., Bekedam, M. & Crone, M.R. (2015). The influence of life events on physical activity patterns of Dutch older adults: A life history method. Psychology & Health, 30:627-651.

Verkuil, B., Brosschot, J.F., Gebhardt, W.A., & Korrelboom, K. (2015). Goal linking and everyday worries in clinical work stress: a daily diary study. British Journal of Clinical Psychology, 54(4): 378-390.

Segar, M.L. & Gebhardt, W.A. (2014). Pursuing health-related goals. In: M.P. O’Donnell (Ed.). Health Promotion in the Workplace (4th ed).

Jellema, I.J., Abraham, C., Schaalma, H.P., Gebhardt, W.A. & van Empelen, P. (2013). Predicting having condoms available among adolescents: the role of personal norm and enjoyment. British Journal of Health Psychology, 18(2), 453-468.

Van der Heiden, S., Gebhardt, W.A., Willemsen, M.C., Nagelhout, G.E., & Dijkstra, A. (2013). Behavioral and psychological responses of lower educated smokers to the smoke-free legislation in Dutch hospitality venues: A qualitative study. Psychology & Health, 28, 49-66.

Gebhardt, W.A., van der Doef, M.P., Billingy, N. , Carstens, M. & Steenhuis, I. (2012). Preferences for condom placement in stores among young Dutch men and women: relationships with embarrassment and motives for having sex. Sexual Health, 9, 233-239.

Massey, E.K., Gebhardt, W.A., Garnefski, N. (2011). Goals in adolescence. In R.J. Levesque (Ed.). Encyclopedia of Adolescence (pp. 1188-1196). New York, New York: Springer.

Menninga, K.M., Dijkstra, A., Gebhardt, W.A. & Siero, F. (2011). I’m better off now: The role of temporal comparisons and exposure evaluations in smoking cessation. Journal of Health Psychology, 16(7), 1082-1090.

Menninga, K. M., Dijkstra, A., & Gebhardt, W. A. (2011). Mixed feelings: Ambivalence as a predictor of relapse in ex‐smokers. British Journal of Health Psychology, 16(3), 580-591.

Verkuil, B., Brosschot, J.F., Gebhardt, W.A. & Thayer, J.F. (2011). Perseverative cognition, psychopathology and somatic health. In: A.J.J.M. Vingerhoets & I. Nyklicek (Eds.). Emotion regulation and well-being (pp. 85-100). Springer Verlag.

de Vet, E., Gebhardt, W.A., Sinnige, J., de Wit, J.B.F., van Puffelen, A. & van Lettow, B. (2011). Implementation intentions for buying, carrying, discussing and using condoms: the role of quality of plans. Health Education Research, 26(3), 443-455.

Gebhardt, W.A., van der Doef, M.P., Massey, E.K., Verhoeven, CJ.M. & Verkuil, B. (2010). Goal commitment to finding a partner and satisfaction with life among female singles: The mediating role of rumination. Journal of Health Psychology, 15, 122-130.

Menninga, K.M., Dijkstra, A. & Gebhardt, W.A. (2010). Mixed feelings: Ambivalence as a predictor of relapse in ex-smokers. British Journal of Health Psychology, 16, 580-59.

Presseau, J., Sniehotta, F.F., Francis, J.J. & Gebhardt, W.A. (2010). With a little help from my goals: Integrating intergoal facilitation with the theory of planned behaviour to predict physical activity. British Journal of Health Psychology, 15(4), 905-919.

Verkuil, B., Brosschot, J.F., Gebhardt, W.A. & Thayer, J.F. (2010). When worries make you sick: A review of perseverative cognition, the default stress response and somatic health. Journal of Experimental Psychopathology, 1, 87-118.

ter Doest, L.T., Dijkstra, A., Gebhardt, W.A., & Vitale, S. (2009). Cognitions about smoking and not smoking in adolescence. Health Education & Behavior36(4), 660-672.

Gebhardt, W.A., van Empelen, P. & van Beurden, D. (2009). Predicting preparatory behaviors for condom use in female undergraduate students: A one-year follow-up study. International Journal of STD & AIDS, 20, 161-164.

Massey, E.K, Gebhardt, W.A.. & Garnefski, N. (2009). Self-generated goals and goal process appraisals: Relationships with sociodemographic factors and well-being. Journal of Adolescence, 32, 501-518.

Massey, E.K, Gebhardt, W.A. & Garnefski, N. (2008). Adolescent goal content and pursuit: A review of the literature from the past 16 years. Developmental Review, 28, 421-460.

Gebhardt, W.A. (2008). On multiple goals and continuous conflict. European Health Psychologist, 10(2), 25-28.

Gebhardt, W.A. (2008). The importance of dynamic goal interaction. In: P.I. Eddington & U.V. Mastolli (Eds.). Health Knowledge, Attitudes, and Practices (pp. 7-10). Hauppauge NY: Nova Science Publishers.

Gebhardt, W.A. (2007). The role of goal facilitation and goal conflict in motivation. In: L.V. Brown (Ed.). Psychology of Motivation (pp.129-140). Hauppauge NY: Nova Science Publishers.

Gebhardt, W.A., Ter Doest, L., Dijkstra, A., Maes, S., Garnefski, N., De Wilde, E.J. & Kraaij, V. (2007). The facilitation of important personal goals through exercise. Perceptual and Motor Skills, 105, 546-548.

Gebhardt, W.A. (2006). Contextualizing health behaviors: The role of personal goals. In: D. de Ridder & J. de Wit (Eds.). Self-regulation in health behavior. Chichester, UK: John Wiley & Sons.

Gebhardt, W.A., Kuyper, L. & Dusseldorp, E. (2006). Condom use at first intercourse with a new partner in female adolescents and young adults: The role of cognitive planning and motives for having sex. Archives of Sexual Behavior, 35(2), 217-223.

ter Doest, L.T., Maes, S., Gebhardt, W.A. & Koelewijn, H. (2006). Personal goal facilitation through work: implications for employee satisfaction and wellbeing. Applied Psychology: An International Review, 55(2), 192-219.

van Empelen, P., Gebhardt, W.A. & Dijkstra, A. (2006). The silent need for a positive self: Why health is not the central human motive in unhealthy and healthy behaviors. Netherlands Journal of Psychology, 62(1), 42-50.

Gebhardt, W.A., Kuyper, L., & Greunsven, G. (2003). Need for intimacy in relationships and motives for sex as determinants of adolescent condom use. Journal of Adolescent Health, 33(3), 154-164.

Kraaij, V., Garnefski, N., de Wilde, E.J., Dijkstra, A., Gebhardt, W.A., Maes, S., & ter Doest, L. (2003). Negative life events and depressive symptoms in late adolescence: Bonding and cognitive coping as vulnerability factors? Journal of Youth and Adolescence, 32(3), 185-193.

Gebhardt, W.A. & Brosschot, J.F. (2002). Desirability of control: Psychometric properties and relationships with locus of control, personality, coping, mental and somatic complaints in three Dutch samples. European Journal of Personality, 16(6), 423-438.

Gebhardt, W.A., Kuyper, L., & Greunsven, G. (2002). Meaning of relationships and motives for sex with steady and casual partners. In: I. Real, T. Bothelho, J. Pais Ribeiro (Eds.) Health through the life cycle: A life span perspective (pp.119-123). Lisbon: Instituto Superior de Psicologica Aplicada.

Dijkstra, A., Sweeney, L. & Gebhardt, W.A. (2001). Social cognitive determinants of drinking in young adults: Beyond the alcohol expectancies paradigm. Addictive Behaviors, 26(5), 689-706.

Gebhardt, W.A. & Maes, S. (2001). Integrating social-psychological frameworks for health behavior research. American Journal of Health Behavior, 25(6), 528-536.

Gebhardt, W.A., Doef, M.P. van der & Paul, L. (2001). The revised Dutch Health Hardiness Inventory (RHHI-24): Psychometric properties and relationship with self-reported health behavior and health in two Dutch samples. Health Education Research, 16(5), 579-592.

Maes, S. & Gebhardt, W.A. (2000). Self‑regulation and health behaviour: The health behaviour goal model. In: M. Boekaerts, P.R. Pintrich & M. Zeidner (Eds.). Handbook of self‑regulation. San Diego, CA: Academic Press.

Gebhardt, W.A., Doef, M.P. van der & Maes, S. (1999). Conflicting activities for exercise. Perceptual and Motor Skills, 89(3), 1159-1160.

Gebhardt, W.A., Dusseldorp, E. & Maes, S. (1999). Measuring transitions through stages of exercise behaviour: Application of latent transition analysis. Perceptual and Motor Skills, 88(3), 1097-1106.

Gebhardt, W.A. & Maes, S. (1998). Competing personal goals and exercise behaviour. Perceptual and Motor Skills, 86(3), 755‑759.

Gebhardt, W.A. (1997). Health behaviour goal model: Towards a theoretical framework for health behaviour change. Leiden University: PhD dissertation.

Brosschot, J.F., Gebhardt, W.A. & Godaert, G.L.R. (1994). Internal, powerful others and chance locus of control: Relationships with personality, coping, stress and health. Personality and Individual Differences, 16(6), 839-852.


In Dutch

Gebhardt, W.A. (2012). Leefstijlverandering in de huisarstenpraktijk. Modern Medicine, 6, 211-2013.

Gebhardt, W.A. (2011). De veranderbaarheid van leefstijl in de huisartsenpraktijk. In: D.P. Engberts (Ed). Medisch-ethische casuistiek: Leefstijl-autonomie-professionaliteit (p.109-118). Leiden: Boerhaave/LUMC.


In relation to pain/illness

Claes, N. & Gebhardt, W.A. (accepted). Chronic pain and goal frustration. Chapter in: P. Karoly & G. Crombez (eds). Motivational Perspectives on Chronic Pain: Theory, Research, and Practice.

Tomee, S.M., Gebhardt, W.A., de Vries, J.P., Hamelinck, V.C., Hamming, J.F. & Lindeman, J.H.N. (2018). Patients’ perceptions of conservative treatment for a small abdominal aortic aneurysm. Patient Preference and Adherence, 12, 119-128.

Papamikrouli, E., van Schie, C. M., Schoenmaker, J., Berge, A. B. V., & Gebhardt, W. A. (2017). Peer Support Needs Among Adults With Burns. Journal of Burn Care & Research, 38(2), 112-120.

Casier, A., Goubert, L., Gebhardt, W.A., De Baets, F., Van Aken, S., Matthys, D. & Geert Crombez. (2013). Acceptance and well-being in adolescents with chronic illness: the mediating role of interference and facilitation of life goals by treatment goals. Psychology & Health, 28(11), 1337-1351.

Massey, E.K., Garnefski, N., Gebhardt, W.A., van der Leeden, R. (2011). A daily diary study on the independent and interactive effects of headache and self-regulatory factors on daily affect among adolescents. British Journal of Health Psychology, 16, 288-299.

Massey, E.K., Garnefski, N. & Gebhardt, W.A. (2009). Goal frustration, coping and wellbeing in the context of adolescent health: A self-regulation approach. European Journal of Pain, 13, 977-984.

Massey, E.K., Garnefski, N., Gebhardt, W.A., & van der Leeden, R. (2009). Daily frustration, cognitive coping and coping efficacy in adolescent headache: A daily diary study. Headache, 49 (8), 1198-1205.

Tromp, D.M., Brouha, X.D.R., Hordijk, G.J., Winnubst, J.A.M., De Leeuw, J.R.J., Gebhardt, W.A. &. van der Doef, M.P. (2005). Medical care-seeking and health-risk behavior in patients with head and neck cancer: The role of health value, control beliefs and psychological distress. Health Education Research, 20(6), 665-675.

Gebhardt, W.A. (1994). Effectiveness of training to prevent job-related back pain: A meta-analysis. British Journal of Clinical Psychology, 33(4), 571-574.

Gebhardt, W.A., Sorbi, M.J. & Spierings, E.L.H. (1991). Mood states and the occurrence of migraine attacks. Headache Quarterly, 2(2), 124-129.

Presentation1see also Emma Massey’s PhD dissertation