Understanding physical activity declines during COVID-19: The affective repercussions of disruption to exercise routines

Celina R. Furman, Sarah C. Volz, Alexander J. Rothman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Recent research has examined psychological factors that forestalled declines in physical activity (PA) during the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic. Surprisingly, there has been limited evidence of an association between intrinsic motivation (IM) and PA. We reasoned that IM may have not predicted PA because COVID-19 restrictions limited opportunities to engage in exercise in ways that produced positive affective experiences (i.e., inherent rewards). Using data from a cross-sectional survey (N = 373 participants), we tested a moderated mediation model that predicted perceived changes to affective experiences during exercise would mediate the association between disruption to one's exercise routine and self-reported declines in PA, and that effects would be moderated by IM. Evidence of moderated mediation was found, suggesting that disruptions to exercise routines were associated with fewer positive affective experiences during exercise that predicted declines in PA engagement, especially for people who typically exercised for intrinsic reasons.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number102330
JournalPsychology of Sport and Exercise
Volume64
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 2023

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 Elsevier Ltd

Keywords

  • Affect
  • COVID-19
  • Intrinsic motivation
  • Physical activity

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