Testing principle working mechanisms of the health action process approach for subjective physical age groups

Julian Wienert*, Tim Kuhlmann, Sebastian Fink, Rainer Hambrecht, Sonia Lippke

*Corresponding author for this work
8 Citations (Scopus)


This study investigated differences in social-cognitive predictors and self-regulatory planning, as proposed by the health action process approach (HAPA), across three different subjective physical age groups for physical activity. With a cross-sectional design, 521 participants across the chronological age span from 25 to 86 years (M = 48.79; SD = 12.66) were separated into three groups: those who feel physically younger than they are in terms of chronological age, the same perceived and chronological age, and feeling physically older compared to their chronological age. Participants were assessed regarding their perceived vulnerability, outcome expectancies, general intentions, planning, self-efficacy, and stages of physical activity (non-intenders, intenders, and actors). Data were analysed via mean comparison and multigroup structural equation modelling. Mean differences for all but one construct were eminent in all groups, generally showing that those feeling physically younger also report better social-cognitive predictors of physical activity (e.g. lower perceived vulnerability) in comparison to those who feel the same age or older. The model showed that basic working mechanisms of the HAPA can be applied to all groups. With that, the results provide for the first time evidence that principle working mechanism of the HAPA can be applied to all subjective physical age groups. These may be used to tailor health promoting interventions according to participants needs as a more suitable proxy than chronological age.

Original languageEnglish
JournalResearch in Sports Medicine
Issue number1
Pages (from-to)67-83
Number of pages17
Publication statusPublished - 02.01.2016

Research Areas and Centers

  • Research Area: Center for Population Medicine and Public Health (ZBV)


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