Background: Habit formation has been proposed as a way to maintain behaviour over time.
Method: In a prospective study over a 2-week period amongst 406 undergraduate students (Mage = 21.5 years [SD = 2.59], 27.4 % males), we investigated main and interaction effects of past exercise behaviour, PBC, intention, planning, and affect on exercise automaticity.
Purpose: Recent evidence suggests that constructs additional to repeated performance may predict physical automaticity, but no research has yet explored possible direct impacts of intention, planning, affect, and perceived behavioural control (PBC) on automaticity.
Results: Results showed that — controlling for past behaviour — PBC, affect, and planning were significant and positive predictors of exercise automaticity. Decomposing a significant interaction between PBC and planning when to exercise revealed that planning became less predictive of exercise automaticity at higher levels of PBC.
Conclusion: Findings show that exercise automaticity is predicted by repeated performance and social–cognitive constructs. Further, interactions between social–cognitive predictors may be different for behavioural automaticity than for behavioural frequency.
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