Self-Regulatory Imagery and Physical Activity in Middle-Aged and Older Adults: A Social-Cognitive Perspective

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Colleges, School and Institutes


Limited research has investigated exercise imagery use in middle-aged and older adults and its relationship with affective and behavioural correlates. The study examined the association between self-regulatory imagery and physical activity (PA) through key social cognitive variables. Middle-aged and older adults (N = 299; Mage = 59.73 years, SD = 7.73, range = 50 to 80) completed self-report measures assessing self-regulatory imagery use, self-efficacy, outcome expectations, perceived barriers, self-regulatory behaviour, enjoyment, and PA levels. Path analysis supported a model (χ(2) (14) = 21.76, p = .08, CFI = .99, TLI = .97, SRMR = .03, RMSEA = .04) whereby self-regulatory imagery positively predicted self-efficacy, outcome expectations, and self-regulatory behaviours. Furthermore, self-regulatory imagery indirectly predicted barriers, outcome expectations, self-regulation, enjoyment, and PA. This research highlights self-regulatory imagery as an effective strategy in modifying exercise-related cognitions and behaviours. Incorporating social cognitive constructs into the design of imagery interventions may increase PA engagement.


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)14-24
Number of pages35
JournalJournal of aging and physical activity
Issue number1
Early online date24 Mar 2017
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2018


  • Journal Article, exercise imagery , social cognitive theory , self-efficacy , employment , self-regulation