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Keywords

personality, approach motivation, avoidance motivation, exercise habits

Abstract

Objective: The study investigated contemporary reinforcement sensitivity theory (RST) personality factors as predictors of short-term changes in young adults’ exercise-related outcomes. Specifically, we explore RST factors as predictors of short-term changes in young adults’ reports of their exercise habits, exercise self-efficacy, exercise affect, and elicitation of exercise social support.

Design: Participants (N=406) completed surveys related to RST including four aspects of behavioral approach system, behavioral inhibition system, and fight-flight-freeze system as well as exercise habits, self-efficacy, affect, and social support at the beginning of one semester and took the same exercise survey six-weeks later.

Main Outcomes: Changes in exercise habits, exercise self-efficacy, exercise affect, and elicitation of exercise social support.

Results: Path analysis results demonstrated a good model fit. The fight-flight-freeze system (β = -.12) and behavioral inhibition systems (β = -.15) predicted changes in exercise habits, but not exercise beliefs or affect. The behavioral approach system goal-drive-persistence component predicted increases in exercise self-efficacy (β = .12) while the impulsivity (β = -.15) predicted increases in eliciting exercise social support.

Conclusion: While our study highlighted meaningful links between RST factors and changes in exercise outcomes, inconsistent patterns and weak magnitudes also underscore the need for future exploration. Weak reward and punishment associations with exercise may help explain the inconsistent relations with RST factors.

DOI

https://doi.org/10.18122/ijpah1.1.7.boisestate

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