The measurement conundrum in exercise adherence research


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Abstract

This paper has two purposes. It first prefaces a symposium titled “Exercise adherence and behavior change: prospects, problems, and future directions.” The symposium describes the progress made during the past 5 years toward understanding the adoption and maintenance of physical activity and exercise. Specifically, research is discussed that has tested the applicability to physical activity of four psychological models of behavior: Reasoned Action, Planned Behavior, Social-Cognitive Theory, and the Transtheoretical Model of stages of change. Recent exercise interventions in clinical/community settings also are discussed to illustrate how theoretical models can be implemented to increase and maintain exercise. The second purpose of this paper is to provide a brief summary of the contemporary literatures on the determinants of physical activity and interventions designed to increase and maintain physical activity. The summary focuses on the measurement problems that have limited the advances made in theory and application in these areas of research. Progress toward resolving the measurement problems during the past 5 years is contrasted with earlier scientific consensus.

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