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Predicting Automaticity in Exercise Behaviour: The Role of Perceived Behavioural Control, Affect, Intention, Action Planning and Behaviour

Lookup NU author(s): Professor Falko Sniehotta


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BackgroundHabit formation has been proposed as a way to maintain behaviour over time.PurposeRecent evidence suggests that constructs additional to repeated performance may predict physical automaticity, but no research has yet explored possible direct impacts of intention, planning, affect, and perceived behavioural control (PBC) on automaticity.MethodIn a prospective study over a 2-week period amongst 406 undergraduate students (M age = 21.5 years [SD = 2.59], 27.4 % males), we investigated main and interaction effects of past exercise behaviour, PBC, intention, planning, and affect on exercise automaticity.ResultsResults showed that — controlling for past behaviour — PBC, affect, and planning were significant and positive predictors of exercise automaticity. Decomposing a significant interaction between PBC and planning when to exercise revealed that planning became less predictive of exercise automaticity at higher levels of PBC.ConclusionFindings show that exercise automaticity is predicted by repeated performance and social–cognitive constructs. Further, interactions between social–cognitive predictors may be different for behavioural automaticity than for behavioural frequency.

Publication metadata

Author(s): DeBruin G-J, GardnerSood B, vanOsch L, Sniehotta FF

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: International Journal of Behavioural Medicine

Year: 2013

Pages: 1-8

Print publication date: 01/09/2013

ISSN (print): 1070-5503

ISSN (electronic): 1532-7558

Publisher: Springer US


DOI: 10.1007/s12529-013-9348-4


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Funder referenceFunder name
MR/K02325X/1Medical Research Council