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Multiple Health Behaviors across Age: Physical Activity and Internet Use

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Objectives: We investigated whether social-cognitive variables predicted physical activity behavior and whether Internet use interrelated with the mediator, across age groups. Methods: Participants (N = 466) were recruited for an online survey and path analyses were run to generate a proposed model examining late adolescents (Group 1, aged 17-20 years), young adults (Group 2, aged 21-40 years), and middle-aged adults (Group 3, aged 41-60 years). Results: Positive associations between physical activity variables were as expected: the relationships between self-efficacy and intention, self-efficacy and behavior, planning and behavior were statistically significant in Groups 1 and 2. The relationships between intention and planning were statistically significant in Groups 2 and 3. All groups showed statistically significant relationships between self-efficacy and planning. Positive associations between Internet use and physical activity emerged only in Group 1. Internet use was negatively correlated with physical activity planning only in Group 3. Conclusions: Late adolescents should be supported to enhance physical activity planning, and middle-aged adults may benefit from support in reducing the possible conflicts between physical activity planning and time spent online. Furthermore, increasing self-efficacy for all groups is key to adopting and maintaining physical activity.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Lingling Gao, Department of Psychology & Methods, Jacobs University Bremen, Germany 2: Yiqun Gan, Professor, School of Psychological Cognitive Sciences, and Bejing Key Laboratory of Behavior and Mental Health, Peking University, People's Republic of China;, Email: [email protected] 3: Sonia Lippke, Professor, Department of Psychology & Methods, Jacobs University Bremen, Germany

Publication date: May 1, 2020

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  • The American Journal of Health Behavior seeks to improve the quality of life through multidisciplinary health efforts in fostering a better understanding of the multidimensional nature of both individuals and social systems as they relate to health behaviors.

    The Journal aims to provide a comprehensive understanding of the impact of personal attributes, personality characteristics, behavior patterns, social structure, and processes on health maintenance, health restoration, and health improvement; to disseminate knowledge of holistic, multidisciplinary approaches to designing and implementing effective health programs; and to showcase health behavior analysis skills that have been proven to affect health improvement and recovery.

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