Deepening the measurement of motivation in the physical activity domain: Introducing behavioural resolve

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Abstract

Objectives:

Intention is theorized as the proximal determinant of behaviour in many leading theories and yet tests of its absolute predictive utility show discordance. While one line of research has been investigating constructs that may augment intention, another possibility may be to improve measurement. The purpose of this study was to compare a typical measure of exercise intention with a measure that attempts to deepen the motivational domain via considerations of contextual barriers and other competing goals (named behavioural resolve).

Design:

Two-week prospective.

Method:

Participants were a random sample of university students who were subsequently randomized to groups who completed either measures of behavioural intention (n = 179) and behavioural resolve (n = 227) in relation to exercise and a 2-week follow-up of exercise behaviour.

Results:

Comparing the two measures showed that the behavioural resolve construct explained significantly more variance in exercise behaviour than the standard intention construct (q = .35). Further comparison of the two measures showed that absolute discordance with subsequent exercise behaviour was considerably lower with behavioural resolve (mean = −.09) compared to behavioural intention (mean = −1.28).

Conclusions:

These findings indicate that at least some of the intention–behaviour gap may be from inadequate measurement of the motivational domain, and this can be partially rectified with shifting to a behavioural resolve measure.

Highlights

▸ Resolve explained significantly more variance in exercise behaviour than intention. ▸ Discordance with exercise behaviour was lower with resolve compared to intention. ▸ Resolve effectively shrinks the gap between motivation and subsequent behaviour.

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