Gone exercising: Mental contrasting promotes physical activity among overweight, middle-aged, low-SES fishermen

Paschal Sheeran, Peter Harris, Jennifer Vaughan, Gabriele Oettingen, Peter M. Gollwitzer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Objective: Fantasy realization theory (Oettingen, 2012) proposes that fantasizing about a desired future or dwelling upon negative reality rarely changes behavior whereas mentally contrasting fantasy with reality can be an effective behavior change technique. This is because mental contrasting energizes people to overcome obstacles that stand in the way of their desired future. The present study tested whether mental contrasting promotes rates of physical activity among overweight, middle-aged, and low-SES men. Method: A randomized controlled trial was conducted with members of an angling club in the north of England (N 467). At baseline, participants completed a postal questionnaire that measured cognitions about physical activity. The intervention was embedded in the questionnaire for relevant participants. Behavior was followed up via telephone at 1 month and 7 months postbaseline. The key outcome measure was a validated, self-report measure of physical activity (Godin, Jobin & Bouillon, 1986) taken at all three time-points. Results: Longitudinal, explanatory, and intention-to-treat analyses each indicated that mental contrasting was effective in enhancing rates of physical activity. Mental contrasting also aided the translation of beliefs about the value and worth of physical activity (instrumental attitudes) into action. Conclusion: Mental contrasting appears to be an effective self-regulatory intervention for promoting physical activity and warrants further tests in health psychology.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)802-809
Number of pages8
JournalHealth Psychology
Volume32
Issue number7
DOIs
StatePublished - Jul 2013

Fingerprint

Exercise
Fantasy
Behavioral Medicine
Intention to Treat Analysis
Telephone
England
Self Report
Cognition
Randomized Controlled Trials
Outcome Assessment (Health Care)
Surveys and Questionnaires

Keywords

  • Exercise
  • Intervention
  • Mental contrasting
  • Physical activity
  • Self-regulation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Applied Psychology

Cite this

Gone exercising : Mental contrasting promotes physical activity among overweight, middle-aged, low-SES fishermen. / Sheeran, Paschal; Harris, Peter; Vaughan, Jennifer; Oettingen, Gabriele; Gollwitzer, Peter M.

In: Health Psychology, Vol. 32, No. 7, 07.2013, p. 802-809.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

@article{468a2ef5726d4d97bedca7e85a6b853a,
title = "Gone exercising: Mental contrasting promotes physical activity among overweight, middle-aged, low-SES fishermen",
abstract = "Objective: Fantasy realization theory (Oettingen, 2012) proposes that fantasizing about a desired future or dwelling upon negative reality rarely changes behavior whereas mentally contrasting fantasy with reality can be an effective behavior change technique. This is because mental contrasting energizes people to overcome obstacles that stand in the way of their desired future. The present study tested whether mental contrasting promotes rates of physical activity among overweight, middle-aged, and low-SES men. Method: A randomized controlled trial was conducted with members of an angling club in the north of England (N 467). At baseline, participants completed a postal questionnaire that measured cognitions about physical activity. The intervention was embedded in the questionnaire for relevant participants. Behavior was followed up via telephone at 1 month and 7 months postbaseline. The key outcome measure was a validated, self-report measure of physical activity (Godin, Jobin & Bouillon, 1986) taken at all three time-points. Results: Longitudinal, explanatory, and intention-to-treat analyses each indicated that mental contrasting was effective in enhancing rates of physical activity. Mental contrasting also aided the translation of beliefs about the value and worth of physical activity (instrumental attitudes) into action. Conclusion: Mental contrasting appears to be an effective self-regulatory intervention for promoting physical activity and warrants further tests in health psychology.",
keywords = "Exercise, Intervention, Mental contrasting, Physical activity, Self-regulation",
author = "Paschal Sheeran and Peter Harris and Jennifer Vaughan and Gabriele Oettingen and Gollwitzer, {Peter M.}",
year = "2013",
month = "7",
doi = "10.1037/a0029293",
language = "English (US)",
volume = "32",
pages = "802--809",
journal = "Health Psychology",
issn = "0278-6133",
publisher = "American Psychological Association Inc.",
number = "7",

}

TY - JOUR

T1 - Gone exercising

T2 - Mental contrasting promotes physical activity among overweight, middle-aged, low-SES fishermen

AU - Sheeran, Paschal

AU - Harris, Peter

AU - Vaughan, Jennifer

AU - Oettingen, Gabriele

AU - Gollwitzer, Peter M.

PY - 2013/7

Y1 - 2013/7

N2 - Objective: Fantasy realization theory (Oettingen, 2012) proposes that fantasizing about a desired future or dwelling upon negative reality rarely changes behavior whereas mentally contrasting fantasy with reality can be an effective behavior change technique. This is because mental contrasting energizes people to overcome obstacles that stand in the way of their desired future. The present study tested whether mental contrasting promotes rates of physical activity among overweight, middle-aged, and low-SES men. Method: A randomized controlled trial was conducted with members of an angling club in the north of England (N 467). At baseline, participants completed a postal questionnaire that measured cognitions about physical activity. The intervention was embedded in the questionnaire for relevant participants. Behavior was followed up via telephone at 1 month and 7 months postbaseline. The key outcome measure was a validated, self-report measure of physical activity (Godin, Jobin & Bouillon, 1986) taken at all three time-points. Results: Longitudinal, explanatory, and intention-to-treat analyses each indicated that mental contrasting was effective in enhancing rates of physical activity. Mental contrasting also aided the translation of beliefs about the value and worth of physical activity (instrumental attitudes) into action. Conclusion: Mental contrasting appears to be an effective self-regulatory intervention for promoting physical activity and warrants further tests in health psychology.

AB - Objective: Fantasy realization theory (Oettingen, 2012) proposes that fantasizing about a desired future or dwelling upon negative reality rarely changes behavior whereas mentally contrasting fantasy with reality can be an effective behavior change technique. This is because mental contrasting energizes people to overcome obstacles that stand in the way of their desired future. The present study tested whether mental contrasting promotes rates of physical activity among overweight, middle-aged, and low-SES men. Method: A randomized controlled trial was conducted with members of an angling club in the north of England (N 467). At baseline, participants completed a postal questionnaire that measured cognitions about physical activity. The intervention was embedded in the questionnaire for relevant participants. Behavior was followed up via telephone at 1 month and 7 months postbaseline. The key outcome measure was a validated, self-report measure of physical activity (Godin, Jobin & Bouillon, 1986) taken at all three time-points. Results: Longitudinal, explanatory, and intention-to-treat analyses each indicated that mental contrasting was effective in enhancing rates of physical activity. Mental contrasting also aided the translation of beliefs about the value and worth of physical activity (instrumental attitudes) into action. Conclusion: Mental contrasting appears to be an effective self-regulatory intervention for promoting physical activity and warrants further tests in health psychology.

KW - Exercise

KW - Intervention

KW - Mental contrasting

KW - Physical activity

KW - Self-regulation

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/record.url?scp=84882608738&partnerID=8YFLogxK

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/citedby.url?scp=84882608738&partnerID=8YFLogxK

U2 - 10.1037/a0029293

DO - 10.1037/a0029293

M3 - Article

VL - 32

SP - 802

EP - 809

JO - Health Psychology

JF - Health Psychology

SN - 0278-6133

IS - 7

ER -