Implicit attitudes and explicit motivation prospectively predict physical activity

David E. Conroy, Amanda L. Hyde, Shawna E. Doerksen, Nuno F. Ribeiro

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background Contemporary approaches to physical activity motivation and promotion focus on explicit motivational processes which regulate intentional physical activity. Less is known about the role of implicit processes, which may be instrumental in regulating habitual aspects of unintentional (i.e., incidental) physical activity (PA). Purpose To test the proposition that the routine nature of unintentional PA makes it amenable to control by implicit processes. Methods Participants (N=201) completed measures of explicit motivation (i.e., efficacy beliefs, outcome expectations, behavioral intentions, perceived behavioral control) and implicit attitudes toward physical activity, and then wore a pedometer for 1 week. Results Implicit attitudes positively predicted PA after controlling for well-established predictors of intentional physical activity. Conclusions PA motivation involves both explicit and implicit processes, and PA promotion efforts may be enhanced by attending to relevant implicit motivation processes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)112-118
Number of pages7
JournalAnnals of Behavioral Medicine
Issue number2
StatePublished - May 2010
Externally publishedYes


  • Automaticity
  • Evaluation
  • Habit
  • Implicit association test
  • Nonconscious

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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