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Stages of Change in Physical Exercise: A Test of Stage Discrimination and Nonlinearity

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Objectives: To investigate the utility of the protection motivation theory (PMT), social-cognitive theory (SCT) and transtheoretical model's (TTM) processes of change (POC) by (1) discriminating between TTM's stages with planned comparisons and (2) examining higher-ordered trends across stages. Methods: 1582 individuals were included in the analyses that tested severity, vulnerability, response-efficacy, self-efficacy, POC, pros and cons, social and environmental support. Results: The findings provide evidence for the utility of the PMT and TTM's POC for stage discrimination; stage discontinuity patterns are supported. Conclusions: Promotion of health behavior should target stage-specific variables, such as threat appraisals for early stage movements.

Keywords: discontinuity pattern; self-efficacy; severity; stage models; theories of health behavior

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: 1: Health Psychology; Freie Universitaet Berlin & Centre for Health Promotion Studies, University of Alberta, Canada 2: Centre for Health Promotion Studies, Alberta Centre for Active Living, & Faculty of Physical Education, University of Alberta, Canada

Publication date: May 1, 2006

More about this publication?
  • The American Journal of Health Behavior seeks to improve the quality of life through multidisciplinary health efforts in fostering a better understanding of the multidimensional nature of both individuals and social systems as they relate to health behaviors.

    The Journal aims to provide a comprehensive understanding of the impact of personal attributes, personality characteristics, behavior patterns, social structure, and processes on health maintenance, health restoration, and health improvement; to disseminate knowledge of holistic, multidisciplinary approaches to designing and implementing effective health programs; and to showcase health behavior analysis skills that have been proven to affect health improvement and recovery.

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