Motivational factors for initiating and maintaining physical activity among adults aged over fifty targeted by a tailored intervention

Denise Astrid Peels*, Peter Verboon, Maartje M van Stralen*, Catherine Bolman, Rianne H J Golsteijn, Aart N Mudde, Hein de Vries, Lilian Lechner

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Objective: To provide insight into the motivational working mechanisms (i.e. mediators) of an effective physical activity (PA) intervention for adults aged over fifty.

Design: The mediation model (N = 822) was investigated in an RCT for the total intervention population, participants who were not norm-active at baseline (targeting PA initiation) and norm-active participants (targeting PA maintenance) separately.

Main Outcome Measures: Potential mediators (attitude, self-efficacy, intention, action planning and coping planning) of the effect on PA (6-months) were assessed at baseline, 3 and/or 6 months.

Results: The intervention resulted in a decrease in intention (B= -.209; p=.017), and an increase in action planning (B=.214; p=.018) and PA (B=.220; p=.002). Intention and action planning did not mediate the effect on PA. Self-efficacy, although not significantly influenced by the intervention, was found to be the only motivational variable that predicted change in PA (B=.164; p=.007). These results were confirmed among participants initiating PA. Among norm-active participants no significant intervention effects were identified.

Conclusion: The motivational factors cannot explain the intervention effect on PA. Most likely, the effect can be explained by an interaction between the motivational factors together. Differences between participants initiating versus maintaining PA, highlight the importance of performing mediation analyses per subgroup.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1184-1206
Number of pages23
JournalPsychology & Health
Issue number10
Early online date5 Mar 2020
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2020


  • Tailored intervention
  • physical activity
  • motivational factors
  • mediation analyses
  • adults aged over fifty
  • motivational determinants
  • post-motivational determinants


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