Antecedents and mediators of the association between adolescents’ intention and physical activity: a cross-sectional study in seven European countries

Maltagliati S., Papaioannou A., Tessier D., Carraro A., Pons J., DEMİRHAN G., ...More

International Journal of Sport and Exercise Psychology, 2023 (SSCI) identifier


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 explain the relationship between intention and PA. However, existing evidence remains scarce and contrasted among adolescents. In a large sample of 13,136 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 modeling showed that attitudes, PBC, family and friends’ support were all associated with intention (b> 0.08, p <.001). Intention (direct effect, b = 0.23, p <.001) and PBC were associated with PA (b = 0.22, p <.001). Action planning (indirect effect, b = 0.06, p <.001) and self-monitoring (indirect effect, b = 0.10, 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 = 0.05, p <.001) and self-monitoring (indirect effect, b = 0.11, 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.