Self-regulatory imagery and physical activity in older adults: A social-cognitive perspective

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Limited research has investigated exercise imagery use in middle-aged and older adults and its relationship with affective and behavioural correlates. The study examined the association between self-regulatory imagery and physical activity (PA) through key social cognitive variables. Middle-aged and older adults (N = 299; Mage = 59.73 years, SD = 7.73, range = 50 to 80) completed self-report measures assessing self-regulatory imagery use, self-efficacy, outcome expectations, perceived barriers, self-regulatory behaviour, enjoyment, and PA levels. Path analysis supported a model (χ2 (14) = 21.76, p = .08, CFI = .99, TLI = .97, SRMR = .03, RMSEA = .04) whereby self-regulatory imagery positively predicted self-efficacy, outcome expectations, and self-regulatory behaviours. Furthermore, self-regulatory imagery indirectly predicted barriers, outcome expectations, self-regulation, enjoyment, and PA. This research highlights self-regulatory imagery as an effective strategy in modifying exercise-related cognitions and behaviours. Incorporating social cognitive constructs into the design of imagery interventions may increase PA engagement.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Aging and Physical Activity
Early online date24 Mar 2017
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 24 Mar 2017


  • enjoyment
  • exercise imagery
  • self-efficacy
  • self-regulation
  • social cognitive theory


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