Psychosocial predictors of adherence to a gluten-free diet

Prediction of adherence to a gluten-free diet using protection motivation theory among adults with coeliac disease

Dowd et al., JHND Early View

Background

Coeliac disease is a chronic autoimmune disease that requires strict adherence to a gluten-free diet. However, strict adherence to a gluten-free diet is difficult, with findings from a recent review suggesting that up to 42% of individuals with coeliac disease do not eat a strict gluten-free diet.

Methods

The present study aimed to examine psychosocial predictors of adherence (purposeful and accidental) to a gluten-free diet among adults with coeliac disease over a 1-month period. In this longitudinal study, 212 North American adults with coeliac disease completed online questionnaires at two time points, baseline and 1 month later.

Results

The results revealed that intentions partially mediated the effects of symptom severity, self-regulatory efficacy, planning and knowledge on purposeful gluten consumption. Intentions did not mediate the effects of severity, response cost, self-regulatory efficacy, planning and knowledge for accidental gluten consumption but, interestingly, self-regulatory efficacy directly predicted fewer accidental incidents of gluten-consumption.

Conclusions

These findings delineate the differential psychological processes in understanding accidental and purposeful gluten consumption among adults with coeliac disease and emphasise the importance of bolstering self-regulatory efficacy beliefs to prevent accidental and purposeful consumption of gluten.

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