The present research focused upon the power of different messages to increase self-reported physical activity (PA). Five hundered and ninety six participants were randomised to one of five conditions that varied in the content of message: short-term affective, short-term cognitive, long-term affective, long-term cognitive and a no message control. PA was measured at baseline and follow-up (seven days later) was done using the Godin Leisure Time Exercise Questionnaire over the subsequent seven day period. The affective short-term message (ASM) was shown to be equally effective at increasing self-reported PA as a cognitive long-term message. Furthermore, when controlling for baseline activity levels, the ASM emerged as being the message that produced the highest levels of self-reported PA at follow-up. The findings point to the value of distinguishing between health messages in terms of the focus on affective and cognitive outcomes and the temporal nature of the outcomes (short-term or long-term).
- behaviour change
- physical activity