Study of the stages of readiness to adopt exercise and strength training behaviors among adults 65 years and older

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Groombridge, Lana
McElhinney, James H.
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Thesis (D. Ed.)
Department of Educational Leadership
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The purpose of this study was to determine whether the 5 stages of change identified in the transtheoretical model (Prochaska & DiClemente, 1983) accurately describe stages of adopting exercise and strength training behaviors among older adults; and to test if the variables of age, gender, education, current level of physical activity, and health problems are accurate measures of predicting stage. Participants included 277 residents of 6 continuing care retirement communities in a midwestern state. A site administered survey instrument used a modified Stages of Change Instrument (Marcus, Selby, Niaura, & Rossi, 1992); the Health Status Inventory (Gorely & Gordon, 1995); and the Physical Activity Scale for the Elderly° (Washburn, Smith, Jette, & Janney, 1993).The study was the first to test whether the 5 stages could be found for strength training, an exercise type. All 5 stages of change were present in both exercise and strength training behaviors but in differing proportions. Results suggest the need to design different strategies to move persons from one stage to another for strength training and exercise. The majority of participants were consistent exercisers as 52% were in maintenance, the stage where people are exercising regularly and have been for longer than six months. The most promising result found 16% in the maintenance stage for strength training behavior with 53% in contemplation, the stage where people are thinking about beginning.A logistic regression analysis was used to conclude that current level of physical activity and number of health problems have some predictive accuracy for stages to adopt exercise and strength training behaviors. The variables of age, gender, and education were not found to be predictive in this study.