Strengthening the relationship between physical activity and physical self-concept: The moderating effect of controllable attributions

Ross M. Murray, Catherine M. Sabiston*, Pete Coffee, Kent C. Kowalski

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)
1 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

Individuals who are more physically active, compared to those who are less physically active, typically report more favourable perceptions of their physical appearance and functioning (i.e., physical self-concept). However, there is limited empirical evidence examining how psychological processes associated with physical activity can affect the strength of this relationship. In the current study, perceptions of controllability (i.e., controllable attributions) was tested as a moderator of the relationship between physical activity and physical self-concept. A sample of 189 adults (Mage = 23.8 years; nmale = 76, nfemale = 112, nunspecified = 1) read hypothetical scenarios that elicited emotions specific to achievement or failure. Participants completed measures assessing their attributions for each scenario, together with self-report physical activity and physical self-concept. In the final models, the relationship between physical activity and physical self-concept was stronger among those participants who reported higher perceptions of controllability. The effectiveness of physical activity interventions may be improved through attributional retraining to adaptive (controllable) attributions.

Original languageEnglish
Article number101828
JournalPsychology of Sport and Exercise
Volume52
Early online date19 Oct 2020
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2021

Keywords

  • Controllability
  • Fitness
  • Goal achievement
  • Goal failure

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Applied Psychology

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