Is time preference and present bias associated with the decision to start, quit or maintain physical activity over time?

Barbara Eberth* (Corresponding Author), Marjon van der Pol, Dmitri Kemenev

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Aim
It is commonly observed that individuals transition into and out of physical activity behaviours over time. A better understanding of the determinants of these transitions is important in order to develop effective interventions. Our focus is on examining the role of time preference and present bias (how present or future oriented individuals are) in the decision to start, quit and maintain physical activity over time.

Subject and methods
We examine changes in different types of physical activity participation over time, allowing us to distinguish between physical activity initiation versus maintenance. We use data from the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth 1979 (NLSY79).

Results
We show that present bias impacts maintenance but not initiation of physical activity behaviour. The time preference rate impacts maintenance of strengthening exercise in men only.

Conclusion
The results of our study suggest that interventions aimed at overcoming present bias, such as commitment devices in the form of deposit contracts, may be effective in maintaining physical activity but not initiating physical activity.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Public Health
Early online date16 Jun 2020
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 16 Jun 2020

Keywords

  • time preference
  • physical activity

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