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Advances in Preventive Medicine
Volume 2011, Article ID 697856, 6 pages
Research Article

The Importance of Autonomous Regulation for Students' Successful Translation of Intentions into Behavior Change via Planning

1Department of Psychology and Education, Yangzhou University, Yangzhou 225009, China
2Jacobs Center on Lifelong Learning and Institutional Development, Jacobs University Bremen, Campus Ring 1 (Research V), 28759 Bremen, Germany
3Institute of Applied Psychology, Jiangsu University, Zherjiang 212007, China

Received 30 March 2011; Accepted 24 May 2011

Academic Editor: John Iskander

Copyright © 2011 Dian Sheng Cao et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Physical activity has a high prevention potential in adolescents. This study investigated the relations between physical activity and intention, autonomous regulation, and planning. We hypothesized that planning mediates the relationship between intention and behavior and that this mediation should depend on the level of autonomous regulation. Stratified randomization sampling method was administered to assemble a sample of 𝑁 = 5 3 4 students among two schools in China. To test the hypothesis, autonomous regulation, intention, and physical activity were assessed at baseline as well as planning and follow-up physical activity four weeks after the pretest. A moderated mediation model confirmed that planning mediated the intention-behavior relation with the effect of planning being moderated by autonomous regulation. Study results demonstrated that autonomous regulation facilitated the translation of intention into behavior change via planning. To promote physical activity among adolescents, interventions targeting planning and autonomous regulation might facilitate successful translation of intentions into behavior change.