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Concurrent Management of Personally Valued and Conflicting Leisure Time Goals: Identifying Social Cognitions that Predict Exercise Volume



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Recommendations are for adults to accumulate 150+ minutes of moderate-vigorous exercise each week to achieve health benefits. Unfortunately, approximately 80% of adults fail to meet the recommendation. “Lack of time” is one of the most commonly reported barriers to exercise, yet, adults report having 330 minutes each day to engage in leisure activities. Leisure activities are freely chosen, motivated, goal-directed activities that are pursued during individuals’ free time (e.g., exercise; socializing; hobbies). According to social cognitive theory, concurrent management of exercise and other leisure activity goals may challenge successful exercise self-regulation. Prior research has found that concurrent self-regulatory efficacy beliefs, or confidence to manage multiple goals including exercise at the same time, significantly predicted exercise across various adult samples. However, the extent to which concurrent goals conflict with each other, termed intergoal conflict, has not shown consistent relationships with behaviour. This may have been because methodologies used in prior research did not seem to ensure that concurrent conflicting goals were highly valued, thereby they did not create a true challenge to exercise conduct. Further, social cognitive theory contends that positive outcomes expectations that individuals expect to achieve from exercise should predict their exercise. However, outcome expectations have yet to be examined in the pursuit of concurrent conflicting exercise and non-exercise goals. Thus, the study purpose was to examine whether intergoal conflict and the likelihood and value of positive exercise outcome expectations predicted moderate-vigorous exercise beyond concurrent self-regulatory efficacy when concurrent conflicting goals were highly valued. Adult exercisers (N = 87; Mage = 31.67 ± 10.90 years) from Canada and the United States reported having plans to pursue highly valued and conflicting moderate-vigorous exercise and non-exercise leisure time goals during the following month. At Time 1, participants completed an online survey that assessed concurrent self-regulatory efficacy, intergoal conflict, likelihood and value of positive exercise outcome expectations, and demographics. At Time 2, participants reported their moderate-vigorous exercise over the prior month via an online survey. To investigate the study purpose, a three-step hierarchical multiple regression analysis predicting Time 2 exercise was conducted. Step 1 included demographics that were significantly associated with Time 2 exercise (i.e., age and income). Step 2 included concurrent self-regulatory efficacy and Step 3 included intergoal conflict and outcome expectations. The overall model was significant; F (6, 80) = 5.48, p < .001, R2adjusted = .24. The addition of intergoal conflict and outcome expectations in Step 3 accounted for an additional and significant 13% of the variance in Time 2 exercise (p < .01). In the final regression model, concurrent self-regulatory efficacy (β = .20; sr2 = .03), intergoal conflict (β = -.23; sr2 = .05), and the likelihood of positive exercise outcome expectations (β = .27; sr2 = .06) were significant predictors (p’s < .05). However, the value of outcome expectations was not a significant predictor. Results were largely in line with contentions from social cognitive theory illustrating that participants who reported higher concurrent self-regulatory efficacy, lower intergoal conflict, and that positive exercise outcomes were likely to occur, also had higher levels of exercise over a one-month period. Findings provide preliminary evidence that, in addition to concurrent self-regulatory efficacy, intergoal conflict, and the likelihood of positive exercise outcomes were related to individuals’ future exercise.



Concurrent Management, Multiple Goals, Exercise, Leisure Activities, Self-regulatory Efficacy, Intergoal Conflict, Outcome Expectations



Master of Science (M.Sc.)






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