A Transtheoretical Approach: Explaining, Predicting and Modifying Physical Activity and Fitness Suite Behaviour

  • Rachel Kettle

    Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis


    Physical activity is a behaviour that is under the control of the individual, despite this two thirds of men and three quarters of women in the UK report exercise levels that are related to increased risk of degenerative disease and mental health problems (DoH, 2004). A number of behavioural theories have been utilised in the quest to address this issue, through the design and implementation of interventions to augment the adoption and maintenance of exercise behaviours.

    This thesis aimed to explore the psychological processes of exercise behaviours through the application of the Transtheoretical Model of behaviour change. This model was used to guide the design, execution and interpretation of longitudinal assessments of self change, stage-matched intervention mediated change and qualitative investigations of the lived experience through case by case analyses. A review of contemporary literature is included, which supports the efficacy of this model; particularly as it provides a useful framework for improving our understanding of how to intervene with individuals at all levels of exercise behaviour to facilitate longterm adherence. Three studies were undertaken in order to answer the questions generated by the review of literature.

    The results indicate that behavioural Processes of Change may be more useful in promoting positive Stage of Change movements in less active stages than was previously recommended. In addition, it appears that women are at greater risk of relapse than men when no intervention is occurring. The interventions designed and distributed matched to Stage of Change were found to be more effective in promoting positive change than none matched conditions. More importantly, the interventions reversed the relapse trend mentioned previously as women were more likely to improve Stage of Change than men on receipt of matched interventions. In addition, novel findings were reported in relation to structured activity, different Processes of Change were identified as efficacious indicating the need for different interventions in these settings. The case by case analysis supported the findings of the quantitative studies for the utility of behavioural Processes of Change in less active individuals. Furthermore, two additions to the Transtheoretical Model were suggested from the qualitative analysis in particular self presentational and goal theories are highlighted. Finally, the importance of re-validating the instruments used to assess this theory in exercise research should be stressed due to the perceived motivational aspects described by interviewees on completing the items.
    Date of AwardAug 2005
    Original languageEnglish

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