Taylor & Francis
Faculty of Health, Engineering and Science
School of Exercise and Health Sciences / Centre for Exercise and Sports Science Research
Habitual action is an important aspect of health behaviour, but the relevance of various habit strength indicators continues to be debated. This study focused specifically on moderate-to-vigorous physical activity (MVPA) and evaluated the construct validity of a framework emphasizing patterned action, stimulus-response bonding, automaticity, and negative consequences for nonperformance as indicators of habit strength for this form of exercise. Methods: Upper-level undergraduates (N = 124) provided demographic information and responded to questionnaire items assessing historical MVPA involvement, current MVPA involvement, and the four proposed habit strength dimensions. Factor analyses were used to examine the latent structure of the habit strength indicators, and the model’s construct validity was evaluated via an examination of relationships with repetition history and current behaviour. Results: At a measurement level, findings indicated that the proposed four-component model possessed psychometric integrity as a coherent set of factors. Criterion-related validity was also demonstrated via significant changes in three of the four factors as a function of past involvement in MVPA and significant correlations with the frequency, duration, and intensity of current MVPA. Conclusions: These findings support the construct validity of this exercise habit strength model and suggest that it could provide a template for future research on how MVPA habits are developed and maintained.
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