A review of the outcome expectancy construct in physical activity research

Center for Research in Health Behavior, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, VA, USA.
Annals of Behavioral Medicine (Impact Factor: 4.2). 03/2005; 29(1):70-9. DOI: 10.1207/s15324796abm2901_10
Source: PubMed


Outcome expectancy is a central construct in social cognitive models of health behavior widely used as frameworks for physical activity research.
This article provides a review of the outcome expectancy construct and its application to research on physical activity.
Theoretical articles describing definitions and placement of outcome expectancy within social cognitive models, as well as empirical research on outcome expectancy and physical activity, were reviewed.
Self-efficacy theory, the transtheoretical model, the theory of planned behavior, and protection motivation theory differ in their labeling and conceptualization of outcome expectancy but unanimously include expected outcomes of behavior. Preliminary empirical investigation of the role of outcome expectancy in understanding physical activity has yielded mixed results. Positive outcome expectancy appears to be more predictive of physical activity in older adults than in young to middle-aged adults, and personal barriers appear to be the most predictive subtype of negative outcome expectancy. In addition, a small number of studies indicate relations between outcome expectancy and other theoretical variables, including behavioral intention, stage of change, and self-efficacy.
Further research on the role of outcome expectancy is necessary to design effective physical activity interventions. New directions in outcome expectancy research could involve (a) expanding the conceptualization of outcome expectancy to include expected outcomes of sedentary behavior and affective responses to physical activity, (b) further examination of potential moderators of the relation between outcome expectancy and physical activity (such as outcome value and outcome proximity), (c) distinguishing between the role of outcome expectancy in behavior onset versus behavior maintenance, (d) examining outcome expectancy as a mechanism of change in environmental intervention approaches, and (e) further analysis of interrelations between outcome expectancy and other social cognitive variables.

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Available from: David M Williams, Feb 17, 2014
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    • "e with work indicating that short - term benefits might be expected to be more directive in decision making compared with long - term gains ( MacGregor et al . , 2000 ; Slovic et al . , 2007 ) . Long term AM with consequences seen to occur in the future may lose the sense of immediate relevance that is experienced when reading an ASM counterpart ( Williams et al . , 2005 ) . For example , how an individual feels looking in the short term may be easier for them to appraise than how they may feel in the distant future ( Finucane et al . , 2000 ; Rottenstreich & Hsee , 2001 ) . These findings , if replicated , have significant practical value . Here we identify two messages that are effective in producing "
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    ABSTRACT: 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).
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    • "The most commonly reported positive (weight loss, improved fitness, more energy, less stress, improved mental well-being) and negative outcomes (injury, lose time to do other things) were included. Negative outcome expectancies were included because expectations are thought to be better predicted when both positive and negative outcomes are considered [41]. Our previous trial [26] and others [42] have demonstrated that the measure was sensitive to change in a physical activity intervention among postnatal women. "
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    ABSTRACT: Background: Women with young children (under 5 years) are a key population group for physical activity intervention. Previous evidence highlights the need for individually tailored programs with flexible delivery mechanisms for this group. Our previous pilot study suggested that an intervention primarily delivered via mobile phone text messaging (MobileMums) increased self-reported physical activity in women with young children. An improved version of the MobileMums program is being compared with a minimal contact control group in a large randomised controlled trial (RCT). Methods/design: This RCT will evaluate the efficacy, feasibility and acceptability, cost-effectiveness, mediators and moderators of the MobileMums program. Primary (moderate-vigorous physical activity) and secondary (intervention implementation data, health service use costs, intervention costs, health benefits, theoretical constructs) outcomes are assessed at baseline, 3-months (end of intervention) and 9-months (following 6-month no contact: maintenance period). The intervention commences with a face-to-face session with a behavioural counsellor to initiate rapport and gather information for tailoring the 12-week text message program. During the program participants also have access to a: MobileMums Participant Handbook, MobileMums refrigerator magnet, MobileMums Facebook (c) group, and a MobileMums website with a searchable, on-line exercise directory. A nominated support person also receives text messages for 12-weeks encouraging them to offer their MobileMum social support for physical activity. Discussion: Results of this trial will determine the efficacy and cost-effectiveness of the MobileMums program, and the feasibility of delivering it in a community setting. It will inform the broader literature of physical activity interventions for women with young children and determine whether further investment in the translation of the program is warranted.
    Full-text · Article · Jun 2013 · BMC Public Health
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    • "A survivor's moment-tomoment appraisal of how she will benefit from exercise may influence decision-making more than a generalized expectation. A review by Williams (Williams, et al., 2005) indicated that expectations about proximal outcomes may be more influential than the distal ones; thus, measuring expectations about the outcomes that may accrue from exercise on that day might carry greater weight than more general expectations. "
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    ABSTRACT: Objective: This study evaluated whether social-cognitive theory (SCT) variables, as measured by questionnaire and ecological momentary assessment (EMA), predicted exercise in endometrial cancer survivors. Method: One hundred posttreatment endometrial cancer survivors received a 6-month home-based exercise intervention. EMAs were conducted by using hand-held computers for 10- to 12-day periods every 2 months. Participants rated morning self-efficacy and positive and negative outcome expectations by using the computer, recorded exercise information in real time and at night, and wore accelerometers. At the midpoint of each assessment period, participants completed SCT questionnaires. Using linear mixed-effects models, the authors tested whether morning SCT variables predicted minutes of exercise that day (Question 1) and whether exercise minutes at time point Tj could be predicted by questionnaire measures of SCT variables from time point Tj-1 (Question 2). Results: Morning self-efficacy significantly predicted that day's exercise minutes (p < .0001). Morning positive outcome expectations were also associated with exercise minutes (p = .0003), but the relationship was attenuated when self-efficacy was included in the model (p = .4032). Morning negative outcome expectations were not associated with exercise minutes. Of the questionnaire measures of SCT variables, only exercise self-efficacy predicted exercise at the next time point (p = .003). Conclusions: The consistency of the relationship between self-efficacy and exercise minutes over short (same day) and longer (Tj to Tj-1) time periods provides support for a causal relationship. The strength of the relationship between morning self-efficacy and exercise minutes suggest that real-time interventions that target daily variation in self-efficacy may benefit endometrial cancer survivors' exercise adherence.
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