Action control of exercise behaviour: Evaluation of social cognition, cross-behavioural regulation and automaticity




Rhodes, Ryan E.
Fiala, Bonnie
Nasuti, Gabriella

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Behavioral Medicine


Intention is considered the proximal determinant of behavior in many popular theories applied to understanding physical activity, yet intention-behavior discordance is high. Thus, an understanding of constructs that facilitate or inhibit the successful translation of intentions into behavior is both timely and important. The action control approach of dividing the intention-behavior relationship into quadrants of successful/unsuccessful intenders has shown utility in the past by demonstrating the magnitude of intention-behavior discordance and allowing for an outcome variable to test predictors. The purpose of this article was to evaluate automaticity and cross-behavioral regulation as predictors of exercise action control, in conjunction with other more standard social cognitive predictors of perceived behavioral control and affective and instrumental attitudes. Participants were a random sample of 263 college students who completed predictor measures at time one, followed by exercise behavior two weeks later. Participants were classified into three intention-behavior profiles: (1) nonintenders (14.1%; n = 31), (2) unsuccessful intenders (35.5%; n = 78), and (3) successful intenders (48.6%; n = 107). Affective attitude, perceived behavioral control, automaticity, and cross-behavioral regulation were predictors of action control. The results demonstrate that automaticity and cross-behavioral regulation, constructs not typically used in intention-based theories, predict intention-behavior discordance.



physical activity, intention, theory of planned behaviour


Rhodes, R. E., Fiala, B., & Nasuti, G. (2012). Action control of exercise behavior: Evaluation of social cognition, cross-behavioral regulation, and automaticity. Behavioral Medicine, 38(4), 121-128.