Stages of change of exercise behavior : relationships with other health behaviors
Costakis, Catherine Elaine
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The Stages of Change Model has been useful in explaining how people change health behaviors. Although this model has been used in numerous investigations to examine how people change single health behaviors, few researchers have used this model to investigate the change process when multiple behaviors are involved. The purpose of this study was to determine if the stages of exercise adoption were associated with other health behaviors. The health behaviors included in this study were cigarette and smokeless tobacco use, seat belt nonuse, alcohol use, and nonregular use of stress management practices. The researcher hypothesized that respondents in the later stages of exercise adoption would practice more healthful behaviors than respondents in the earlier stages. Survey research was conducted, using a sample of 1,896 university employees, to obtain the demographic, socioeconomic and behavioral information used in this study. The survey response rate was 68%. Logistic regression analysis was used to determine if stage of exercise predicted the presence of each of the health behaviors while controlling for demographic, socioeconomic, and other health behavior variables. Respondents in the later stages of exercise adoption were less likely to be cigarette smokers, more likely to use their seat belt regularly, and more likely to use regular stress management practices than respondents in the earliest stage of exercise. Hence, encouraging individuals to become more involved in exercise could indirectly influence other lifestyle behaviors. Exercise has been found to have therapeutic effects in relation to a variety of chronic diseases and could be a possible "gateway" behavior towards healthier lifestyle choices.