Affective response to exercise and affective judgments as predictors of physical activity intention and behavior among new mothers in their first six-months postpartum

Date

2023

Authors

Rhodes, Ryan E.
Blanchard, Chris M.
Hartson, Kimberly R.
Symons Downs, Danielle
Warburton, Darren E. R.
Beauchamp, Mark R.

Journal Title

Journal ISSN

Volume Title

Publisher

Annals of Behavioral Medicine

Abstract

Background: Understanding the predictors of moderate to vigorous physical activity (MVPA) during early postpartum is important to improve promotion efforts. Affect-related constructs are key predictors of MVPA but have limited research in mothers during the postpartum period. Purpose: To examine two affect-related constructs (affective response to exercise and affective judgments) as predictors of MVPA intention and behavior across three months, among a sample of new mothers. Method: Participants were 105 mothers (M age = 30.64 yrs; SD = 3.93) who completed measures during postpartum at two-months post birth of their first child. The affective response to exercise (assessed at baseline [2-months postpartum] during a submaximal treadmill test), affective judgments and intention (baseline, 6-weeks after baseline), and MVPA (baseline, 6- and 12-weeks after baseline) were assessed via self-report. Results: Path analysis, using ordinary least squares regression, showed that the affective response during exercise was a significant predictor of intention (baseline, 6-weeks), as well as change in intention from baseline to 6-weeks. By contrast, affective judgments predicted intention at 6-weeks, but not at baseline or in the change model. Past MVPA did not moderate these findings, although the affective response during exercise also had a significant indirect effect on MVPA through intention at 6-weeks and 12-weeks. Conclusions: Interventions targeting women’s affective response during exercise may be important during postpartum, perhaps through self-paced physical activity guidance. Affective judgments may not be predictive of MVPA, in part due to unanticipated changes during early postpartum leading to inaccurate expectations of the physical activity experience.

Description

Keywords

Affect and health behavior framework, Affective attitude, Intention, Parenthood

Citation

Rhodes, R.E., Blanchard, C. M., Hartson, K. R., Symons Downs, D., Warburton, D. E. R., & Beauchamp, M.R. (2023). Affective response to exercise and affective judgments as predictors of physical activity intention and behavior among new mothers in their first six-months postpartum. Annals of Behavioral Medicine, 57(4), 344–353. https://doi.org/10.1093/abm/kaac067