Autonomous Motivation Is Not Enough: The Role of Compensatory Health Beliefs for the Readiness to Change Stair and Elevator Use

Theda Radtke, Pamela Rackow

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Compensatory health beliefs (CHBs) are beliefs that an unhealthy behavior can be compensated with a healthy behavior. In line with the CHBs model, the aim of this study was twofold. First, the study investigated the relationship between autonomous motivation and CHBs that physical inactivity can be compensated by taking the stairs instead of the elevator. Second, the study focused on the associations between CHBs and readiness to use the stairs more often and stair and elevator use. Thus, a cross-sectional online questionnaire was designed that was filled out by 135 participants. Path analysis showed that individuals with stronger autonomous motivation to use the stairs strongly agreed that sedentary behavior could be compensated by taking the stairs instead of the elevator. Moreover, CHBs were positively related to readiness to change behavior, but not to self-reported stair and elevator use. Even though future research is necessary to replicate these findings, autonomous motivation seems to have a positive impact on CHBs which, in turn, might boost an intended behavior change. Thus, promoting possible compensation of physical inactivity might foster the readiness to change the unhealthy behavior.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)12412-12428
Number of pages17
JournalInternational Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
Issue number12
Early online date28 Nov 2014
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2014



  • autonomous motivation
  • compensatory health beliefs
  • behavior change
  • readiness to change behavior
  • stair use
  • elevator use
  • physical activity
  • workplace

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