International Journal of Public Health

, Volume 64, Issue 5, pp 659–668 | Cite as

Associations between psychological factors and accelerometer-measured physical activity in urban Asian adults

  • Andre Matthias MüllerEmail author
  • Chuen Seng Tan
  • Anne H. Y. Chu
  • Rob Martinus van Dam
  • Falk Müller-Riemenschneider
Original article



Examine the association between psychological variables and accelerometer-measured moderate-to-vigorous physical activity (MVPA) in urban Asians.


A population-based cross-sectional study was conducted in Singapore. Participants wore an accelerometer for 7 days to measure physical activity (PA). Demographic, anthropometric and psychological data were also collected. Psychological variables included PA guideline knowledge, motivational profile for PA self-regulation (5 subscales), perceived barriers to PA (4 subscales) and perceived social support for PA. Regression models with adjustment for socio-demographic variables were fitted.


External regulation (b = − 13.03, 95% CI − 34.55; − 1.50) and perceived daily life barriers (b = − 12.63, 95% CI − 24.95; − 0.32) were significantly associated with fewer weekly MVPA minutes. A significant interaction between perceived social support and age (p = 0.046) was found. Social support was significantly negative associated with MVPA minutes in younger (< 28 years), but not in older participants.


Considering levels of self-determination to engage in PA and perceived daily life barriers may be important for planning PA interventions in urban Asian populations. Caution is required when promoting social support for PA as it was associated with lower MVPA in younger people.


Exercise Health behavior Health promotion Personal autonomy Cognition Movement Self-determination 



This study was supported by grants from the National University of Singapore and National University Health System, Singapore, and the Ministry of Health, Singapore. The funder had no role in any aspects of the research.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

All authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical approval

Ethics approval for the Singapore Health 2 study was obtained from the National University of Singapore Institutional Review Board (reference number 13-515). All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki Declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.

Informed consent

Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.

Supplementary material

38_2019_1203_MOESM1_ESM.docx (22 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 21 kb)


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Copyright information

© Swiss School of Public Health (SSPH+) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Saw Swee Hock School of Public HealthNational University of SingaporeSingaporeSingapore
  2. 2.Centre for Sport and Exercise ScienceUniversity of MalayaKuala LumpurMalaysia
  3. 3.Yong Loo Lin School of MedicineNational University Health System and National University of SingaporeSingaporeSingapore
  4. 4.Singapore Institute for Clinical SciencesAgency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR)SingaporeSingapore
  5. 5.Department of NutritionHarvard T.H. Chan School of Public HealthBostonUSA
  6. 6.Institute for Social Medicine, Epidemiology and Health EconomicsCharite University Medical Centre BerlinBerlinGermany

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