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Examining Implementation Intentions in an Exercise Intervention: The Effects on Adherence and Self-Efficacy in a Naturalistic Setting1


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    Terra C. Murray is now at the Centre for Nursing and Health Studies. This research was supported by a grant awarded to Wendy M. Rodgers from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada.

Terra C. Murray, Centre for Nursing and Health Studies, Athabasca University, Athabasca, Alberta, Canada T9S 3A3. E-mail:


Some studies have found positive associations between implementation intentions and exercise, independent of motivational factors. However, most research has not been conducted in actual exercise contexts. In a naturalistic setting, implementation intentions may be associated with self-efficacy (SE) beliefs. This study examined the effect of implementation intentions on adherence and SE over an 11-week exercise program. Women (N = 72) were randomly assigned to an experimental (i.e., implementation intention) or a control group, with 52 participants completing the study. Results showed that while adherence decreased over time in both groups, the experimental group had better adherence than did the control group. Scheduling SE was also higher in the experimental group. Implementation intentions may help to maintain adherence and scheduling SE.