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Prior research identified assorted relations between trait and social cognition models of personality and engagement in physical activity. Using a representative U.S. sample (N = 957), the goal of the present study was to test two alternative structural models of the relationships among the extraversion-related facet of activity, the conscientiousness-related facet of industriousness, social cognitions from the Theory of Planned Behavior (perceived behavioral control, affective attitudes, subjective norms, intentions), Social Cognitive Theory (self-efficacy, outcome expectancies), and the Transtheoretical Model (behavioral processes of change), and engagement in physical activity. Path analyses with bootstrapping procedures were used to model direct and indirect effects of trait and social cognition constructs on physical activity through two distinct frameworks – the Theory of Planned Behavior and Neo-Socioanalytic Theory. While both models showed good internal fit, comparative model information criteria showed the Theory-of-Planned-Behavior-informed model provided a better fit. In the model, social cognitions fully mediated the relationships from the activity facet and industriousness to intentions for and engagement in physical activity, such that the relationships were primarily maintained by positive affective evaluations, positive expected outcomes, and confidence in overcoming barriers related to physical activity engagement. The resultant model –termed the Disposition-Belief-Motivation model – is proposed as a useful framework for organizing and integrating personality trait facets and social cognitions from various theoretical perspectives to investigate the expression of health-related behaviors, such as physical activity. Moreover, the results are discussed in terms of extending the application of the Disposition-Belief-Motivation model to longitudinal and intervention designs for physical activity engagement.


Health Psychology | Personality and Social Contexts