Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)

Degree Granting Department


Major Professor

Paul B. Jacobsen, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Thomas H. Brandon, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Joel K. Thompson, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Jennifer K. Bosson, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Brent J. Small, Ph.D.


exercise, physical activity, dissonance, hypocrisy induction, health behavior, behavior change


Hypocrisy induction is a dissonance-based intervention approach that has been successful in changing a number of health-related behaviors; however, no published studies have evaluated a hypocrisy induction intervention for exercise. The present two-stage study involved developing and subsequently evaluating a hypocrisy induction intervention for exercise in a small-scale randomized controlled trial (RCT). Outcomes of interest were intention to exercise, immediate physical activity-related behavior choice, and short-term (one-week) changes in self-reported exercise and objectively assessed physical activity. Self-esteem was evaluated as a potential moderator of intervention effects. After two rounds of pilot testing in the Development Phase, the intervention was evaluated in a sample of 120 participants (60 each in the exercise intervention and no-intervention control conditions). Participants who received the intervention reported significantly greater intention to exercise than did control participants who did not receive the intervention (p = .02, d = 0.43). Small effects in favor of the intervention were also found for self-reported exercise and objectively assessed physical activity (d = .21 - .35), but these effects were nonsignificant. Self-esteem influenced the effect of the intervention on self-reported exercise: The intervention was more effective for participants with lower levels of self-esteem. The present findings provide preliminary support for use of hypocrisy induction interventions in exercise promotion, but additional research is needed to determine for whom and in what situations this approach is best used.

Included in

Psychology Commons