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The Relationship of Self-efficacy and Explicit and Implicit Associations on the Intention–Behavior Gap

Alison Divine, Tanya Berry, Wendy Rodgers, and Craig Hall

Background: Recent physical activity research is limited by intention–behavior discordance and is beginning to recognize the importance of automatic processes in exercise. The purpose of the current study was to examine the role of multidimensional exercise self-efficacy (SE), explicit–implicit evaluative discrepancies (EIEDs) for health, and appearance on the intention–behavior gap in exercise. Methods: A total of 141 middle-aged inactive participants (mean age = 46.12 [8.17] y) completed measures of intentions, SE, and explicit and implicit evaluations of exercise outcomes. The participants were classified as inclined actors (n = 107) if they successfully started the exercise program and inclined abstainers (n = 35) if they were not successful. Results: The inclined actors and abstainers did not differ on intentions to exercise; however, the inclined actors had higher coping SE and lower EIEDs for health. In addition, the coping SE (Exp [β] = 1.03) and EIEDs for health (Exp [β] = −0.405) were significant predictors of being an inclined actor. Conclusions: The interaction between explicit and implicit processes in regard to health motives for exercise appears to influence the successful enactment of exercise from positive intentions. As most physical activity promotion strategies focus on health as a reason to be active, the role of implicit and explicit evaluations on behavioral decisions to exercise may inform future interventions.

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The Relationship of Explicit–Implicit Evaluative Discrepancy to Exercise Dropout in Middle-Aged Adults

Tanya R. Berry, Wendy M. Rodgers, Alison Divine, and Craig Hall

Discrepancies between automatically activated associations (i.e., implicit evaluations) and explicit evaluations of motives (measured with a questionnaire) could lead to greater information processing to resolve discrepancies or self-regulatory failures that may affect behavior. This research examined the relationship of health and appearance exercise-related explicit–implicit evaluative discrepancies, the interaction between implicit and explicit evaluations, and the combined value of explicit and implicit evaluations (i.e., the summed scores) to dropout from a yearlong exercise program. Participants (N = 253) completed implicit health and appearance measures and explicit health and appearance motives at baseline, prior to starting the exercise program. The sum of implicit and explicit appearance measures was positively related to weeks in the program, and discrepancy between the implicit and explicit health measures was negatively related to length of time in the program. Implicit exercise evaluations and their relationships to oft-cited motives such as appearance and health may inform exercise dropout.