The influence of pre-motivational factors on behavior via motivational factors: a test of the I-Change model

Stefanie Kasten*, Liesbeth van Osch, Math Candel, Hein de Vries

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


BACKGROUND: The I-Change Model for explaining motivational and behavioral change postulates that an awareness phase precedes the motivation phase of a person, and that effects of pre-motivational factors on behavior are partially mediated by motivational factors. This study tests this assumption with regard to physical activity.

METHODS: Observational longitudinal survey study (baseline, three months, six months) amongst Dutch adults (N = 2434). Structural equation modelling was used to investigate whether the influence of (1) knowledge, (2) cognizance, (3) cues, and (4) risk perception separately on intention and physical activity were mediated by motivational factors (i.e. attitudes, self-efficacy and social influence). Subsequently, a comprehensive model including all pre-motivational factors was estimated to test the same assumption for all pre-motivational factors simultaneously.

RESULTS: The results indicate that the associations of cognizance, risk perception and cues with behavior were fully mediated by motivational factors when tested separately. When tested simultaneously only the effect of cognizance remained. Cognizance was most strongly associated with positive attitudes β = .13, p < .01, self-efficacy β = .13, p < .01, and intention β = .14, p < .01. No direct link with behavior was found.

CONCLUSION: The results suggest that pre-motivational factors are important to form a motivation; however, they do not directly influence behavior. The inclusion of factors such as risk perception and cognizance would help to get a better understanding of motivation formation and behavior.

Original languageEnglish
Article number7
JournalBMC Psychology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 20 Feb 2019


  • Adult
  • Attitude to Health
  • Awareness
  • Cues
  • Exercise/psychology
  • Female
  • Health Behavior
  • Humans
  • Intention
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Male
  • Models, Psychological
  • Motivation
  • Risk Assessment
  • Self Efficacy

Cite this