What Does it Matter? Investigating the Importance of Subjective age for Health Behavior Stages

  • J. Wienert
  • T. Kuhlmann
  • S. Fink
  • R. Hambrecht
  • S. Lippke


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.
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