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Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/1860/2801

Title: A prospective test of predictors of physical activity in freshman college women using a path analytic method
Authors: Tappe, Karyn Andrea
Keywords: Clinical psychology;Exercise--Physiological aspects;Exercise for women
Issue Date: 11-Jul-2008
Abstract: Physical activity levels decrease dramatically from childhood to adulthood, and only a minority of adult Americans meets the minimum recommendations for regular exercise. It therefore appears important to intervene with young people to encourage them to continue leading an active lifestyle rather than settling into a sedentary lifestyle common among adults. The first step towards encouraging such activity is to understand the reasons that some individuals adopt an active lifestyle while others do not. The present study examined young adult women entering their first year of college and evaluated the ability of a number of individual psychological variables to predict exercise behavior over several months. The variables explored included those comprising the Theory of Planned Behavior, past exercise behavior patterns, personality characteristics, physical self-efficacy, and change in emotional affect after a single bout of moderate exercise. The participants in this study were asked to walk on a treadmill for 10 minutes (for the purpose of measuring affective change with physical activity), self-report their physical activity over three days, complete a number of questionnaires, and, two to five months later, again self-report their recent exercise behavior. Path analysis was used to evaluate the predictive value of these variables for current and future exercise behavior. Eighty-two women provided data at time 1 and 53 provided data longitudinally. Results indicated that, cross-sectionally, intention and past exercise behavior predicted current exercise behavior most strongly. Longitudinally, in part due to low statistical power, many of these relationships diminished and only current exercise behavior and affect change after walking were independent predictors in the confirmatory model; an exploratory model suggested that personality and intention could also be a significant direct independent predictor of behavior. These differential cross-sectional and longitudinal findings suggest that the women may have been less tuned into internal predilections early in their freshman year, but that these predispositions became more influential later. Past behavior predicted later behavior as expected, but over a limited time span. These findings raise intriguing questions about the changing nature of the early college experience and an individual's changing awareness of environmental versus internal cues for behavior.
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/1860/2801
Appears in Collections:Drexel Theses and Dissertations

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