Does the discrepancy between implicit and explicit attitudes moderate the relationships between explicit attitude and (intention to) being physically active?

Carolin Muschalik*, Iman Elfeddali, Math Candel, Rik Crutzen, Hein de Vries

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Background: Explicit attitudes as well as implicit attitudes have been shown to be associated with physical activity (PA). These two types of attitudes can, however, be discrepant towards the same object or behavior. This study investigated whether there is a discrepancy between explicit and implicit attitudes (IED) regarding physical activity (PA), and whether IED moderates the relationship between explicit attitude and PA, and explicit attitude and PA intention.

Methods: At baseline (T0) and one (T1) and three months (T2) thereafter, students’ (N=340) PA levels, intention, explicit attitudes, further PA determinants, e.g. self-efficacy, were assessed. Implicit attitudes towards PA were assessed by means of a tailored Single-Category Implicit Association task.

Results: IED was present but weak. Multiple hierarchical regressions revealed that IED did not moderate the relationship between explicit attitudes and PA or intention. Yet, IED was negatively associated with T0-PA and T1-PA.

Conclusion: The study revealed the important insight that IED is detrimental for PA. Interventions targeting attitudes to increase PA, should ensure that implicit and explicit attitudes regarding PA are concordant.
Original languageEnglish
Article number52
Pages (from-to)2-14
JournalBMC Psychology
Publication statusPublished - 2019

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