The association between physical self-discrepancy and physical activity: the mediating role of motivation



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Research has shown a negative relationship between perceived body size discrepancy and exercise participation. The aim of this study was to test the mediating role of exercise behavioral regulations in the relationships between physical self-discrepancies and physical activity participation. Methods. A sample of 147 college students completed measures of physical self-discrepancies and behavioral regulations and wore accelerometers to collect physical activity data over a two-week period. Data were analyzed using multilevel logistic regression. Results. Analyses showed greater agreement between actual and ideal physical self-perception was related to physical activity as mediated by intrinsic motivational regulations. Furthermore, ideal and ought discrepancy scores were highly correlated, but the patterns of results observed in this study varied. Conclusion. Among college students, it appears that ideal physical self-discrepancy exerts a negative influence on physical activity by decreasing feelings that exercise is inherently enjoyable. Interventions should strive to enhance views on the physical-self and encourage participating in physical activities rich in intrinsic appeal.



Self-discrepancy, Self-determination, physical activity, accelerometer, physical-self, mediation