Battogtokh Zagdsuren, Nicholas Barefoot, Makena Clark, Mark Richardson, Hayley MacDonald. The University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa, AL.

Grounded in dual process theories related to physical activity (PA) behavior, both reflective and automatic processes have been shown to predict PA. However, relatively little is known about the interaction or relative contributions of these two processing systems in relation to PA behavior, and even less is known about how individual factors alter these relationships. PURPOSE: To examine the relationships among automatic and reflective processes (i.e., PA intentions) across four different PA domains (i.e., exercise [EX], light [LPA] and moderate-to-vigorous intensity non-leisure time PA [MVPA], and sedentary behavior [SED]), and explore how individual factors modulate these associations. METHODS: Participants (≥18 years old) completed a computerized Single Category Implicit Association Test (SCIAT) measuring implicit attitudes towards PA and SED behaviors using images depicting the four different PA domains. Positive SCIAT scores indicated positive affective evaluation (AE) toward the target behavior. They also completed questionnaires measuring PA intention and PA self-efficacy (SES). Habitual PA was measured using an accelerometer. Multiple regression analysis was used to examine whether AE predicted unique variance in levels of PA after controlling for PA intentions and SES. RESULTS: Sixty-six participants (63% women; 92% students) were included in our final sample (M±SD: 23±8 y, 26.2±19.1 kg/m2, 53.4±13 min/d and 505.3±315.1 min/d of MVPA and SED, respectively). AE of the different PA domains did not differ: EX=0.00±0.67, LPA=0.00±0.89, MVPA=-0.08±0.46, SED=-0.08±0.72. AE of EX was strongly and positively correlated with LPA (r=0.53, p<0.001). AE of EX and SES interacted to predict min/d of MVPA (β=-0.21; p=0.04) and total activity counts per day (a measure of total PA) (β=-0.26; p=0.01). Simple slope analysis revealed that at high SES, AE of EX was negatively correlated with both MVPA (β=-0.29, p=0.05) and total PA (β=-0.31, p=0.04). CONCLUSIONS:Our results, although somewhat unexpected, support the role of AE in relation to PA behavior and suggest that its effect may depend on self-regulatory resources such as SES. Caution is warranted in generalizing our findings to other samples as ours was comprised of young, healthy, and active adults.

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