Academic journal article Research Quarterly for Exercise and Sport

Validation of a Stages of Exercise Change Questionnaire

Academic journal article Research Quarterly for Exercise and Sport

Validation of a Stages of Exercise Change Questionnaire

Article excerpt

The purpose of this study was to examine evidence for the validity of a stages of change measure of the Transtheoretical Model for exercise behavior. Participants were 152 university students (53.3% women, 71.6% Caucasian, M age = 19.18 years) who completed processes of change, self-efficacy, decisional balance, stages of change, and exercise behavior questionnaires as well as a maximal treadmill test. Participants in the action and maintenance stages had the highest strenuous (PC/C/P < A/M) and moderate (PC/C < A/M) self-reported exercise behavior Those in the maintenance stage had the highest estimated aerobic fitness (PC/P < M). The differences between the early stages (PC, C, and P) and the later stages (A and M) as described by the first function were primarily due to the behavioral process of change. The differences between the extreme stages (PC and M) and the middle stages (C, P, and A) were due to the experiential processes of change and the pros of decisional balance. The hypothesized patterns of stage differences were partially supported. Failure to obtain full support may have been due to methodological issues or inherent difficulties in detecting evidence for the validity of stages of change measures.

Key words: barrier self-efficacy, decisional balance, processes, transtheoretical model


The Transtheoretical Model (TM) originated from a comparative analysis of 18 therapy systems (Prochaska, 1979). It attempts to determine a "structure of change that underlies both self-mediated and treatment facilitated modification of addictive and other problem behaviors" (Prochaska, DiClemente, & Norcross, 1992, p. 1102). The model contains temporal (i.e., stages of change), mechanistic (i.e., processes of change, self-efficacy, decisional balance, and temptation), and contextual dimensions (i.e., interrelated levels of psychological problems that may be addressed in treatment; Gorely & Gordon, 1995; Prochaska et al., 1992).

The stages of change are the central organizing structure of the TM (Marcus, Eaton, Rossi, & Harlow, 1994; Prochaska & Velicer, 1997) among which individuals spiral back and forth as they change behavior. Various stages have been proposed by researchers (Cole, Leonard, Hammond, & Fridinger, 1998; DiClemente et al., 1991; Miilunpalo, Nupponen, Laitakari, Marttila, & Paronen, 2000; Mutrie & Caddell, 1994; Prochaska & DiClemente, 1983; Prochaska & Marcus, 1994), but the most commonly recognized are precontemplation (PC), contemplation (C), preparation (P), action (A), and maintenance (M; Prochaska et al., 1992). Precontem-plation is characterized by the absence of intention to change behavior. Contemplation is defined as the presence of intention to change behavior. When intention to begin the behavior exists and some preparatory behavior or the behavior itself has begun inconsistently, an individual is classified as being in the preparation stage. Action is distinguished by having begun consistent behavior change, while continuation of the behavior change moves the individual to the maintenance stage.

Self-reported exercise behavior has been used to support the validity of self-reported stage of change by numerous researchers (Armstrong, Sallis, Hovell, & Hofstetter, 1993; Burn, Naylox, & Page, 1999; Cardinal, 1995a; Cardinal, 1995b; Cardinal, 1997a; Cardinal, 1997b; Cardinal, 1998; Cardinal, 1999; Cash, 1997; Counaeya, Nigg, & Estabrooks, 1998; Emmons, Marcus, Linnan, Rossi, & Abrams, 1994; Eves, Mant, & Clarke, 1996; Hausenblas, Dannecker, Connaughton, & Lovins, 1999; Hellman, 1997; Lee, Nigg, DiClemente, & Courneya, 2001; Lowther, Mutrie, Loughlan, & McFarlane, 1999; Marcus & Simkin, 1993; Naylor, McKenna, Barnes, & Christopher, 1995; Sarkin, Johnson, Prochaska, & Prochaska, 2001; Schumann et al., in press; Wyse, Mercer, Ashford, Buxton, & Gleeson, 1995). …

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