Possible interactions among exercise self-identity, social comparison and exercise behaviour were explored in a sample of 417 undergraduate students (mean age = 21.5, SD = 3.0; 73% female). Two models were examined using self-report data; (1) a mediation model which proposed an association between social comparison and exercise behaviour mediated by exercise self-identity and (2) a moderation model proposing an association between exercise behaviour and self-identity moderated by social comparison. Results of the mediation analyses revealed partial mediation of the social comparison–exercise behaviour relationship by self-identity in females. Results of the moderation analyses revealed in males a significant interaction of social comparison with exercise behaviour in the prediction of self-identity – the positive association between exercise behaviour and exercise self-identity showed only significant among male students who believed to exercise equally much or less than peers. Possible explanations and implications for exercise promotion are discussed.
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