Objectives: To examine how public attributions for the causes and solutions of physical inactivity and individuals' self-identified political orientation are associated with support for different policy actions in addressing physical inactivity.
Methods: A secondary data analysis was conducted with a sample of 2,044 Canadian adults. Two sets of 2 X 3 analyses of variance were conducted to assess (1) the mean differences by the causal attributions for physical inactivity and political orientation, and (2) responsibility for solutions and political orientation on support for least, moderate, and most intrusive policy actions.
Results: No interaction effects existed between causal attribution and political orientation on policy support, but the main effect of causal attributions and political orientation was significant. Those who held internal causal attributions showed less support for policies compared to those who held external or both internal and external causal attributions. Conservative individuals reported the least support for all policy actions in comparison to liberals or centrists. There were interaction effects between responsibility for solutions and political orientation on policy support. Conservatives who perceived the responsibility for solving physical inactivity as a private matter had less support for all three policies.
Conclusions: Public acceptance of policy actions addressing physical inactivity varies by the attributions the public have regarding causes and responsibility for solving the problem, and by political orientation. Advocacy and messaging for policy implementation in the physical activity arena need to be communicated in ways that encourage reflective and informed deliberation that is representative of the Canadian population.