Objective: The role of affectively oriented risk beliefs in explaining health behaviors has not been examined in the context of physical activity or in diverse study populations. We evaluated whether affective risk beliefs account for unique variance in physical activity intentions and behavior above and beyond that accounted for by cognitive risk beliefs.
Design: A cross-sectional survey of socio-demographically diverse US residents (N = 835; 46.4% no college training; 46.7% minority racial/ethnic ancestry; 42.6% men).
Main outcome measures: Physical activity intentions and behavior.
Results: Hierarchical linear regressions showed that affective risk beliefs accounted for variance in physical activity intentions beyond that predicted by socio-demographics and cognitive risk beliefs (F-change ps<.001). Specifically, intentions were higher among people with higher anticipated regret (ps<.001) and with higher absolute feelings of risk (ps<.05) or worry (ps<.05). There was an indirect relationship between perceived absolute likelihood and intentions through anticipated regret and feelings of risk. Neither cognitive nor affective risk beliefs accounted for variance in physical activity behavior (F-change ps>.05), but unsurprisingly, behavior was positively associated with physical activity intentions (p<.001).
Conclusion: Future interventions could target affective risk beliefs—particularly anticipated regret—to increase intentions, and then add other intervention components to bridge the intention–behavior gap.
View graph of relations
- Affect, beliefs, risk perception, theory, physical activity, DONT KNOW RESPONSES, HEALTH BEHAVIOR, PERCEIVED RISK, CANCER, WORRY, INFORMATION, PERCEPTIONS, PREVENTION, KNOWLEDGE, MOTIVATION