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Steriani Elavsky

This 2-year prospective study examined the exercise and self-esteem model in middle-aged women (N = 143) previously enrolled in a randomized controlled exercise trial. Across the 2-year period, increases in physical activity (PA) and self-efficacy and reductions in body mass index (BMI) were associated with improved subdomain self-perceptions relative to physical condition, and reductions in BMI were associated with improved subdomain self-perceptions relative to physical condition and body attractiveness. The effects of PA, self-efficacy, and BMI on changes in physical self-worth and global self-esteem were mediated by changes in self-perceptions relative to physical condition and body attractiveness. The results of this longitudinal analysis support the hierarchical and multidimensional structure of self-esteem and indicate that middle-aged women can enhance how they perceive their condition and body attractiveness by continued participation in physical activity, increasing their self-efficacy, and maintaining healthy BMI levels.

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Liang Hu, Edward McAuley and Steriani Elavsky

This study was designed to address whether the Perceived Physical Ability (PPA) subscale of the Physical Self-Efficacy Scale (PSES; Ryckman, Robbins, Thornton, & Cantrell, 1982) measures self-efficacy or self-esteem. Secondary analyses of four previously reported data sets were conducted to examine the extent to which the PPA overlaps with multidimensional self-esteem measures. Once the factor structure of the PPA was confirmed, multitrait-multimethod analyses were employed to establish convergent and discriminant validity of the PPA and task-specific self-efficacy measures with self-esteem measures. The results support the position that the PPA may be more reflective of esteem than efficacy. Additionally, task-specific self-efficacy measures demonstrated stronger associations with behavioral outcomes than did the PPA. It is recommended that if the PPA is to be used for research purposes, it may have greater utility as a measure of physical self-esteem rather than self-efficacy.

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Jiri Mudrak, Pavel Slepicka and Steriani Elavsky

We tested a social cognitive model of physical activity (PA) in the cultural context of the Czech Republic, a postcommunist central European country. In total, 546 older Czech adults (mean age = 68 years, data collected in 2013) completed a battery of questionnaires assessing indicators of PA and related social cognitive constructs, including self-efficacy, social support, and self-regulation strategies. Subsequently, a structural equation model was used to test the relationship between the social cognitive constructs and PA. Our analyses indicated an acceptable fit of the proposed model (CFI = .911; SRMR = .046; RMSEA = .073). Self-regulation was predicted by self-efficacy (β = .67) and social support (β = .23), which predicted PA (β = .45). The model explained 60.4% of the variance in PA self-regulation and 20.5% of the variance in PA participation. The results provide further evidence for the role of self-efficacy and social support in enabling PA in older adults, and suggest that this relationship is partially mediated by self-regulation.

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Steriani Elavsky, Lenka Knapova, Adam Klocek and David Smahel

We provide a systematic review of interventions utilizing mobile technology to alter physical activity, sedentary behavior, and sleep among adults aged 50 years and older. A systematic search identified 52 relevant articles (randomized control trial [RCT], quasi-experimental, pre/post single-group design). Of 50 trials assessing physical activity, 17 out of 29 RCTs and 13 out of 21 trials assessed for pre/post changes only supported the effectiveness of mobile interventions to improve physical activity, and 9 studies (five out of 10 RCTs and all four pre/post studies) out of 14 reduced sedentary behavior. Only two of five interventions improved sleep (one out of two RCTs and one out of three pre/post studies). Text messaging was the most frequently used intervention (60% of all studies) but was usually used in combination with other components (79% of hybrid interventions included SMS, plus either web or app components). Although more high-quality RCTs are needed, there is evidence supporting the effectiveness of mHealth approaches in those aged 50 years and older.

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Amanda L. Rebar, Steriani Elavsky, Jaclyn P. Maher, Shawna E. Doerksen and David E. Conroy

Physical activity is regulated by controlled processes, such as intentions, and automatic processes, such as habits. Intentions relate to physical activity more strongly for people with weak habits than for people with strong habits, but people’s intentions vary day by day. Physical activity may be regulated by habits unless daily physical activity intentions are strong. University students (N = 128) self-reported their physical activity habit strength and subsequently self-reported daily physical activity intentions and wore an accelerometer for 14 days. On days when people had intentions that were weaker than typical for them, habit strength was positively related to physical activity, but on days when people had typical or stronger intentions than was typical for them, habit strength was unrelated to daily physical activity. Efforts to promote physical activity may need to account for habits and the dynamics of intentions.

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Amanda L. Hyde, Steriani Elavsky, Shawna E. Doerksen and David E. Conroy

Accumulating research indicates that physical activity is motivated by automatic evaluations of physical activity. Little is known about the stability of automatic evaluations or how their dynamics impact physical activity. We tested the measurement invariance and stability of university students’ (N = 164) automatic evaluations of physical activity. In addition, multiple regression and structural equation models with latent interaction variables were used to investigate how changes in automatic evaluations related to change in self-reported physical activity and differences in the level of directly measured physical activity. It was revealed that automatic evaluations had strict measurement invariance and that automatic evaluations have both stable and unstable components. People whose unfavorable automatic evaluations became more favorable over the week showed a larger increase in self-reported physical activity from the previous week than did people whose automatic evaluations remained unfavorable. These results indicated that the dynamics of automatic evaluations and physical activity can be intertwined.

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Jennifer L. Huberty, Diane Ehlers, Jason Coleman, Yong Gao and Steriani Elavsky


Ideal approaches to increasing long-term physical activity (PA) adherence in women remain unclear. This study used a longitudinal mixed-methods approach to 1) determine the effectiveness of an 8-month book club intervention for increasing PA participation and self-worth, and reducing barriers at 1-year follow-up; and 2) identify reasons why completers and noncompleters did or did not maintain PA.


One year after the cessation of Women Bound to be Active (WBA), completers (participated in posttesting; n = 30) and noncompleters (did not participate in posttesting; n = 22) responded to questionnaires and interviews assessing their body mass index (BMI), current PA participation, barriers, and global self-worth.


Compared with noncompleters, completers reported decreases in BMI, higher motivation for PA, higher ratio of benefits to barriers, and more consistent PA. Both groups still reported barriers to PA, especially time; however, completers more often reported strategies for overcoming these barriers. Completers more directly discussed the impact of their improved self-worth on their PA participation.


In the future, a greater focus on time management and self-regulation strategies should be emphasized in PA interventions, specifically those that focus on women. This may help to prevent program and long-term PA attrition.

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David E. Conroy, Steriani Elavsky, Amanda L. Hyde and Shawna E. Doerksen

The intention-behavior gap has proven to be a vexing problem for theorists and practitioners interested in physical activity. Intention stability is one factor which moderates this gap. This study articulated and tested contrasting views of intention stability as (a) a dynamic characteristic of people that influences assessment error (and therefore the predictive power of intentions) and (b) the product of a dynamic process that unfolds within people over time. Using an ecological momentary assessment design, young adults (N = 30) rated weekly physical activity intentions for 10 weeks and wore pedometers for the first 4 weeks of the study. Substantial within-person variability existed in intentions over both 4- and 10-week intervals, and this variability was not a function of time exclusively. Multilevel modeling revealed that overall intention strength (across weeks) and weekly deviations in intention strength interacted to predict weekday (but not weekend) physical activity. These findings indicate that the person and context interact to selectively couple or decouple intentions from daily physical activity.

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David E. Conroy, Steriani Elavsky, Shawna E. Doerksen and Jaclyn P. Maher

Social-cognitive theories, such as the theory of planned behavior, posit intentions as proximal influences on physical activity (PA). This paper extends those theories by examining within-person variation in intentions and moderate-to-vigorous physical activity (MVPA) as a function of the unfolding constraints in people’s daily lives (e.g., perceived time availability, fatigue, soreness, weather, overeating). College students (N = 63) completed a 14-day diary study over the Internet that rated daily motivation, contextual constraints, and MVPA. Key findings from multilevel analyses were that (1) between-person differences represented 46% and 33% of the variability in daily MVPA intentions and behavior, respectively; (2) attitudes, injunctive norms, self-efficacy, perceptions of limited time availability, and weekend status predicted daily changes in intention strength; and (3) daily changes in intentions, perceptions of limited time availability, and weekend status predicted day-to-day changes in MVPA. Embedding future motivation and PA research in the context of people’s daily lives will advance understanding of individual PA change processes.

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Jaclyn P. Maher, Shawna E. Doerksen, Steriani Elavsky and David E. Conroy

Recent research revealed that on days when college students engage in more physical activity than is typical for them, they also experience greater satisfaction with life (SWL). That work relied on self-reported physical activity and did not differentiate between low levels of physical activity and sedentary behavior. This study was designed to (1) determine if the association between self-reported physical activity and SWL would exist when physical activity was monitored objectively and (2) examine the between- and within-person associations among physical activity, sedentary behavior, and SWL. During a 14-day ecological momentary assessment study, college students (N = 128) wore an accelerometer to objectively measure physical activity and sedentary behavior, and they self-reported their physical activity, sedentary behavior, and SWL at the end of each day. Physical activity and sedentary behavior had additive, within-person associations with SWL across self-reported and objective-measures of behavior. Strategies to promote daily well-being should encourage college students to incorporate greater amounts of physical activity as well as limit their sedentary behavior.