Different Psychosocial Factors Predict
Adoption, Maintenance Of Physical Activity Program
benefits of regular physical activity are well documented, yet only 32
percent of adults in the United States engage in regular exercise. Now
a new study by researchers at The Miriam Hospital offers some new
insight into the role of social and environmental influences on
physical activity behaviors.
the study, published online by the Annals of Behavioral Medicine, a
person who is starting a physical activity program is influenced by
different psychosocial factors than a person who is trying to maintain
such a program. These factors include access to home exercise equipment
and the belief that one can succeed.
influences an individual to become physically active may not
necessarily help them maintain their activity level over time, and vice
versa," said lead author David Williams, PhD, of The Miriam Hospital's
Centers for Behavioral and Preventive Medicine. "A better understanding
of these variables will help us design more effective interventions
that encourage individuals to initiate, and stick with, a physical
included more than 200 participants (84 percent female) who were
already enrolled in a randomized controlled physical activity promotion
trial. All individuals were initially sedentary and did not engage in
regular physical activity, which was defined as participating in at
least 150 minutes of moderate intensity exercise or at least one hour
of vigorous exercise per week.
and a year into the program, participants completed questionnaires
designed to measure 12 psychosocial variables, including: physical
activity levels, self-efficacy (or the beliefs about one's ability to
perform and succeed), decisional balance (or perceived beliefs about
the pros and cons of physical activity), outcome expectations, physical
activity enjoyment, cognitive and behavioral processes of change,
perceived satisfaction with physical activity, social support for
physical activity from family and friends, and environmental access to
convenient facilities, neighborhood and home exercise equipment.
this data, researchers set out to determine which psychosocial factors
at six months were most likely to predict physical activity levels at
12 months. They then compared these predictors among participants were
who physically active versus inactive at the six month mark.
self-efficacy emerged as the strongest predictor of physical activity
status, with a 139 percent increase in the odds of being active at 12
months. Decisional balance, behavioralprocesses, outcome expectations
and enjoyment were also significant predictors of physical activity.
analyses revealed that access to home exercise equipment was more
predictive of physical activity adoption, whereas self-efficacy and
perceived satisfaction were more important in predicting exercise
findings were a little surprising since they were somewhat
contradictory of other theoretical models of physical activity
behaviors and interventions," says Williams, who is also an assistant
professor of psychiatry at The Warren Alpert School of Medicine of
Brown University. "Although it's premature to draw any definitive
conclusions, our report suggests some directions for future research."
supported in part through grants from the National Heart, Lung and
Blood Institute and the National Institute of Child Health and Human
Development. Other researchers from The Miriam Hospital Centers for
Behavioral and Preventive Medicine involved in this study were Bess A.
Marcus, PhD; Joseph Ciccolo, PhD; Beth C. Bock, PhD; George
Papadonatoas, PhD; and Jessica A.Whiteley, PhD. Other researchers were
Beth A. Lewis, PhD, from the University of Minnesota; Shira Dunsiger,
MA, from Brown University; and Melissa Napolitano, PhD, from Temple
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