Prioritizing Intentions on the Margins: Effects of Marginally Higher Prioritization Strategies on Physical Activity Participation

in Journal of Sport and Exercise Psychology
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  • 1 Curtin University
  • | 2 Aristotle University of Thessaloniki
  • | 3 Murdoch University
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Previous research documented that “extremely high prioritization” strategies that involved allocation of all resources for time or energy on pursuing goals related to leisure-time physical activity and none of available resources on competing behavioral goals were optimal in terms of yielding highest levels of participation in physical activities. This study examined whether a “marginally higher prioritization” strategy that involved an intention to invest large but slightly more resources on physical activity than competing behaviors was optimal. In addition, we examined whether linear and quadratic models supported different conclusions about optimal prioritizations strategies. Response surface analyses of a quadratic model revealed that marginally higher prioritization was the most effective strategy. In addition, a linear regression model led us to incorrectly reject a “simultaneous goal pursuit” strategy in favor of an extremely high prioritization strategy. Findings suggest that prioritization strategies that “garner” low opportunity costs are the most optimal.

Nikos L. D. Chatzisarantis, Cecilie Thøgersen-Ntoumani, Nikos Ntoumanis, Dimitrios Adam, and Martin S. Hagger are with the Department of Psychology and Speech Pathology, Curtin University, Perth, Australia. Vassilis Barkoukis is with the Department of Physical Education and Sport Science, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Thessaloniki, Greece. Panagiotis Petridis is with the Department of Physics, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Thessaloniki, Greece. Sandra Gountas is with the Business School, Curtin University, Perth, Australia. John Gountas is with the Business School, Murdoch University, Perth, Australia. Address author correspondence to Nikos L. D. Chatzisarantis at