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Exercising for the pleasure and for the pain of it: The influence of hedonistic thinking in contemporary motivational theory in physical activity

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Daniel EavesORCiD



This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC BY 4.0).


“They [pleasure and pain] govern us in all we do, in all we say, in all we think” (Bentham, 1780, p.1). Physical inactivity is one of the most widely reported risk-factors associated with many non-communicable diseases, including cardiovascular disease, diabetes mellitus, cancer, obesity, hypertension, stroke, osteoporosis, and depression (Warburton et al., 2006; Bravata et al., 2007), as well as overall global mortality (World Health Organization, 2010). Interventions that increase physical activity can reliably reduce the impact of these undesired outcomes. However, the key question facing research and theory is how best to conceptualize the associated psychological factors, which ultimately determine adherence to behavioral change. Social-Cognitive models of behavior, including the Theory of Planned Behavior, Transtheoretical Model, and Social-Cognitive Theory, represent popular explanatory frameworks, which can help practitioners understand how best to improve physical activity behavior.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Murphy S, Eaves DL

Publication type: Review

Publication status: Published

Journal: Frontiers in Psychology

Year: 2016

Volume: 7

Online publication date: 10/06/2016

Acceptance date: 20/05/2016

ISSN (electronic): 1664-1078


DOI: 10.3389/fpsyg.2016.00843