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Antecedents and mediators of the association between adolescents’ intention and physical activity

a cross-sectional study in seven European countries


  • Silvio Maltagliati Université Grenoble Alpes
  • Athanasios Papaioannou
  • Damien Tessier
  • Attilio Carraro
  • Joan Pons
  • Gıyasettin Demirhan
  • Yago Ramis
  • Paul Appleton
  • Martins Joao
  • Géraldine Escriva-Boulley
  • Aïna Chalabaev
  • Boris Cheval
  • Charalambos Krommidas
  • Philippe Sarrazin



Physical activity, intention, self-regulation, action planning, self-monitoring


About 80% of adolescents report insufficient physical activity (PA) worldwide. Beyond the association of attitudes, family and friends’ support, and perceived behavioural control [PBC] with intention, self-regulation strategies are expected to underlie the association between intention and action. Particularly, action planning and self-monitoring, as well as the perceived energy needed to develop these strategies, may underlie the relationship between intention and PA. However, existing evidence remains scarce and contrasted among adolescents. In a large sample of 13136 adolescents from seven European countries, we examined the antecedents of intention. We further investigated whether action planning and self-monitoring mediated the association of intention with self-reported PA, as well as whether perceived energy predicted PA through these self-regulation strategies. Structural equation modelling showed that attitudes, PBC, family and friends’ support) were all associated with intention (bs. > .08, ps. < .001). Intention (direct effect, b = .23, p < .001) and PBC were associated with PA (b = .22, p < .001). Action planning (indirect effect, b = .06, p < .001) and self-monitoring (indirect effect, b = .10, p < .001) partly mediated the relationship of intention with PA. Perceived energy was associated with PA through the partial mediating effect of action planning (indirect effect, b = .05, p < .001) and self-monitoring (indirect effect, b = .11, p < .001). Our results suggest that both action planning and self-monitoring underlie the association between intention and PA among European adolescents and that perceived energy could be an antecedent of these self-regulation strategies.


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