Identities, Schemas, and Definitions

How aspects of the self influence exercise behavior

Authored by: Shaelyn M. Strachan , Diane E. Whaley

Routledge Handbook of Physical Activity and Mental Health

Print publication date:  April  2013
Online publication date:  August  2013

Print ISBN: 9780415782999
eBook ISBN: 9780203132678
Adobe ISBN: 9781136477805


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A full understanding of human behavior requires consideration of how individuals view themselves. The proliferation of research addressing constructs such as self-esteem and self-efficacy exemplify this focus on self. Leary and Price Tangney (2003) posit self as an organizing construct that imposes order upon the numerous self-related constructs. According to these researchers, self is defined as the “psychological apparatus that allows organisms to think consciously about themselves” (Leary & Price Tangney, 2003, p. 8). How we view ourselves is recognized as more than a reservoir of self-knowledge and has implications for motivation and execution of goal-directed behavior (Stein & Markus, 1996). Through providing a reflexive core, the self is thought to enable individuals to experience, perceive, think, and feel in relation to themselves, as well as regulate themselves (Leary & Price Tangney, 2003).

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