Self-control strength and physical exercise: An ecological momentary assessment study


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Abstract

Objective:We tested predictions made by the self-control strength model on a day level using ecological momentary assessment methodology. The study examined the relationship between self-control strength and physical exercise in participants who intended to exercise on a regular basis. We hypothesized that individuals would exercise more on days when their self-control strength was high than on days when their self-control strength was low and that trait self-control would moderate this relationship.Methods:N = 63 students aged between 19 and 32 years participated in the study. Self-control strength and physical exercise were assessed daily over a period of 20 days with an electronic diary.Results:Multilevel analyses revealed that the level of self-control strength was positively associated with physical exercise (p = 0.01), and this relationship was stronger in individuals with low trait self-control than in those with high trait self-control (interaction effect: p = 0.03).Conclusion:These findings highlight the interplay between momentarily fluctuating variables such as self-control strength and dispositional variables such as trait self-control in the prediction of physical exercise.HighlightsIndividuals exercise more on days when their self-control strength is high than on days when self-control strength is low.This relationship is stronger in individuals with low trait self-control compared to individuals with high trait self-control.The practical importance of the self-control strength model is emphasized.

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