Acute affective response to a moderate-intensity exercise stimulus predicts physical activity participation 6 and 12 months later

David M. Williams, Shira Dunsiger, Joseph T. Ciccolo, Beth A. Lewis, Anna E. Albrecht, Bess H. Marcus

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

447 Scopus citations


Objective: Examine the relationship between acute affective responses during a moderate-intensity exercise stimulus and future physical activity participation. Design: Longitudinal, observational study in the context of a randomized controlled trial. Methods: Healthy, sedentary adults (n=37) reported their basic affective response (i.e., feel good versus bad) prior to and during an acute, moderate-intensity exercise stimulus presented prior to randomization in a controlled physical activity promotion trial. At 6 and 12 months, 31 of the 37 participants reported their total weekly minutes of physical activity. Results: As hypothesized, basic affective response to the moderate-intensity stimulus predicted 6-month physical activity (β=.51, p=.013) when controlling for baseline physical activity and self-reported affect prior to the initial exercise stimulus, and 12-month physical activity (β=.45, p=.047) when also controlling for 6-month physical activity. Conclusions: Affective response to an acute moderate-intensity exercise stimulus predicted self-reported physical activity 6 and 12 months later. The findings could have implications for prescription of exercise intensity, as exercising at an intensity that yields a positive affective response may lead to greater participation in physical activity programs among previously sedentary adults.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)231-245
Number of pages15
JournalPsychology of Sport and Exercise
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 2008
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This project was supported in part through grants from the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (R01 HL69866 to Dr. Marcus and F32 HL78709 to Dr. Williams) and a career development award (Dr. Williams, Scholar; Dr. Coustan, PI) from the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (K12 HD043447). This study was performed at the Centers for Behavioral and Preventive Medicine at Brown Medical School and The Miriam Hospital. We would like to thank Santina Ficara and Jaime Longval for research assistance and Barbara Doll for her assistance with manuscript preparation. Special thanks to co-investigators on R01 HL69866: Beth Bock, Ph.D., John Jakicic, Ph.D., Melissa Napolitano, Ph.D., Charles Neighbors, Ph.D., Alfred Parisi, M.D., Christopher Sciamanna, M.D., Deborah Tate, Ph.D., and Jessica Whiteley, Ph.D. Finally, we would like to thank the anonymous reviewers for their insightful comments and suggestions.


  • Affect
  • Exercise
  • Feeling Scale
  • Physical activity


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