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Dissertation

An examination of stage of change, partnering and exercise adherence

15 December 2000

Abstract

The importance of exercise is well documented in the literature. Regardless of this however, many Americans still do not exercise and of those who do begin an exercise routine, 30% drop out within the first 3 months ~ Although knowledge on what motivates individuals and increases their adherence to exercise is limited, social support and stage of change appear to be important factors. Correlational studies have shown that social support is associated with long-term adherence to diet and exercise, and that workout "buddies" or partners may be a useful intervention. Because adherence appears to be a dynamic process that evolves over time the transtheoretical model of behavior change has been useful in understanding this process. The primary goals of this study were to replicate previous findings that an individual's stage of change for exercise is related to
exercise adherence, while exploring how an individual's stage of change for exercise is related to a partner's stage of change, and if there was also a relationship to adherence. Although extensive research has documented stage of change as a valid measure of exercise adoption, no research has examined how an individual's stage of change may be related to their partner's stage of change or to exercise adherence. This study attempted to address some of these questions by the following means: Interested undergraduate students attended an informational meeting focused on the benefits of regular exercise.
Those who agreed to participate answered a demographic questionnaire regarding health and exercise. Each participant then completed an exercise stage of change measure to determine pre-study exercise stage of change. Participants were asked to design their own workout routine with a participating partner and report the number of minutes exercised . via e-mail to the researcher on a weekly basis. After 8-weeks participants were again administered the stage of change measure to determine post-study exercise stage of change. Findings support that an individual's stage of change (SOC) for exercise is related to exercise behavior, and that subjects who had partners in a higher SOC at the
beginning of the study (pre-study) exercised more than those who had partner's in a lesser SOC.


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