What Does it Matter? Investigating the Importance of Subjective age for Health Behavior Stages
1Jacobs University Bremen gGmbH, Jacobs Center on Lifelong Learning and Institutional Development, Germany
2University of Konstanz, Department for Psychological Methods and Diagnostics, Germany
3Klinkum Links der Weser, Department for Cardiology and Angiology, Germany
Background: Subjective age seems to have an impact on forming intentions as well as on physical activity itself. However, it is unclear if subjective age has a greater impact on the intention or the action phase of health behaviors. This will be addressed in the current study by analyzing data from an online-survey. Methods: Cross-sectional data (N = 615) were analyzed using multinomial regression to investigate the influence of subjective physical age on three phases of the Health Action Process Approach with a stage algorithm as the dependent categorical variable. Findings: The model led to a significant decrease of unexplained variance (?² = 213.31, p < .001). When intenders are the reference group, significant differences for subjective physical age arise for the actors group (b = -0.4, Wald?²(1) = 6.05, p = .01, OR = .963), but not for non-intenders. Discussion: The findings suggest that individuals who feel physically older are more likely to be intenders, whereas individuals who feel younger are more likely to be actors. These results contribute to a better understanding of the differential effects of subjective age on health behavior stages of physical activity.