Predicting implicit and explicit exercise identity from descriptive social norms regarding exercise

Kathryn Pluta (Lead / Corresponding author), Kimberly More, L. Alison Phillips

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)
15 Downloads (Pure)


Objectives: Exercise identity may promote exercise maintenance. However, less is known about factors that affect exercise identity. Whether descriptive social norms are potential intervention targets for identity development was evaluated.

Design: A cross-sectional design using data from the Attitudes, Identities, and Individual Differences (AIID) study was employed – with additional cases collected to increase sample size and power – to evaluate whether descriptive social norms regarding exercise are related to implicit and explicit exercise identities.

Main Outcome Measures: Participants completed measures of proximal and distal descriptive social norms regarding exercise, explicit and implicit exercise identity, physical activity behavior, and demographics. Multiple regression was used to assess whether social norms regarding exercise predict exercise identities.

Results: Only proximal descriptive social norms were significantly associated with explicit exercise identity, whereas neither proximal nor distal descriptive social norms were associated with implicit exercise identity. The slopes for explicit and implicit identity differed when predicted by distal (but not proximal) descriptive social norms.

Conclusions: Proximal descriptive social norms may be associated with explicit exercise identity and may be a worthy intervention targeting alongside identity to influence change in exercise behavior. More research is needed to further understand these relationships.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages19
JournalPsychology and Health
Early online date6 Jan 2023
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 6 Jan 2023


  • social norms
  • descriptive norms
  • identity
  • exercise
  • exercise identity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Psychology


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