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J Health Commun. 2015;20(10):1115-24. doi: 10.1080/10810730.2015.1018639. Epub 2015 Jul 1.

Effects of Online Self-Regulation Activities on Physical Activity Among Pregnant and Early Postpartum Women.

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a Wee Kim Wee School of Communication and Information, Nanyang Technological University , Singapore.
b Department of Communication , Cornell University , Ithaca , New York , USA.
c Division of Nutritional Sciences, Cornell University , Ithaca , New York , USA.


Physical and psychological changes that occur during pregnancy present a unique challenge for women's physical activity. Using a theory-based prospective design, this study examines the effects of pregnant women's (a) physical activity cognitions (self-efficacy, outcome expectancy, and safety beliefs) and (b) online self-regulation activities (goal-setting and self-monitoring) on subsequent changes in their physical activity intentions and behavior during pregnancy and immediately postpartum. The authors used data from three panel surveys administered to pregnant women enrolled in a web-based intervention to promote healthy pregnancy and postpartum weight, as well as log data on their use of self-regulatory features on the intervention website. Perceived self-efficacy and perceived safety of physical activity in pregnancy enhanced subsequent intentions to be physically active. Repeated goal-setting and monitoring of those goals helped to maintain positive intentions during pregnancy, but only repeated self-monitoring transferred positive intentions into actual behavior. Theoretically, this study offers a better understanding of the roles of self-regulation activities in the processes of goal-striving. The authors also discuss practical implications for encouraging physical activity among pregnant and early postpartum women.

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