Despite the known benefits of habitual exercise in patients with heart disease, less than half of these patients exercise regularly and many of those who initiate programs fail to maintain physical activity routines over the long term. The aim of this research was to examine processes related to short- and long-term regulation of exercise to gain a clearer understanding of why people might fail to maintain intended behavioral changes. We modeled intention formation and plan formulation to investigate the distinct roles of self-efficacy and motivation (self-determination) in different phases of behavior change. Our results showed self-efficacy to be more relevant to exercise intentions and motivation to exercise planning. This research provides evidence supporting the proposition that the psychological processes related to short- and long-term regulation of behavior change differ and suggests that people might fail to continue regulating intended behavior owing to a lack of self-determined motivation.
Slovinec D’Angelo and Reid are with the University of Ottawa Heart Institute, Ottawa, ON Canada, and Pelletier is with the University of Ottawa, Ottawa, ON Canada.