Psychology, Department of


Date of this Version

January 2007


Published in Health Psychology, 26:2 (2007), pp. 152–158. Copyright © 2007 American Psychological Association. Used by permission. “This article may not exactly replicate the final version published in the APA journal. It is not the copy of record.”


Individuals have affective associations with health behaviors. In other domains such associations have been shown to influence behavior, but affective associations with health behaviors are not included in current health decision-making models. The authors examined whether affective associations with exercise predicted individuals’ activity behavior and, if so, how they interfaced with other decision-making constructs to influence behavior. Adult participants (N = 433) reported their current physical activity behavior and affective associations with physical activity. Health belief model and theory of planned behavior constructs were also assessed. More positive affective associations with activity significantly predicted greater activity behavior. Moreover, the influence of the health belief model and theory of planned behavior constructs on activity behavior was mediated through affective associations. Affective associations were shown to play a central role in individuals’ activity behavior, both as a mediator of the effects of cognitively based decision-making factors and as an independent predictor of activity behavior. The results suggest the need to include affective influences on behavior in formal models of health decision making and, potentially, to explore affectively based intervention routes to change behaviors.