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Objectives: Experiencing positive consequences of one's physical activity is supposed to facilitate further activity. This motivational outcome might be generated by an increase in perceived self‐efficacy. In addition to such a mediator effect, we examine whether this applies generally or only under conditions of volitional control. For this purpose, perceived action control was considered as a putative moderator.

Design and Method: N = 193 students participated in a study with three measurement points in time. At baseline, positive experience with previous physical activity was measured as a predictor of physical activity. Two weeks later, self‐efficacy and action control variables were assessed as putative mediator and moderator, respectively. After another 2 weeks, physical activity was measured as the outcome. A moderated mediation model was specified with baseline physical activity and sex as covariates.

Results: Self‐efficacy was found to mediate between initial positive experience and later physical activity, and this mediation was moderated by action control.

Conclusions: Participants’ perceptions of positive experience were associated with their subsequent self‐efficacy fostering physical activity. However, persons with low levels of action control did not translate positive experience into physical activity via self‐efficacy.


Institute for Positive Psychology and Education

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Journal Article

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