, Volume 14, Issue 1, pp 30-39

Planning and strategy use in health behavior change: a life span view

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Exercise-related strategy use and planning were investigated in younger (18-49 years) and older individuals (50-80 years) in orthopedic rehabilitation who were supposed to adhere to a strict exercise regimen. As part of a longitudinal study, N = 368 individuals completed questionnaires assessing the amount of physical activities performed pre-rehabilitation and 6 and 12 months after discharge. In addition, the extent of strategy use (selection, optimization, and compensation) and planning after discharge was assessed. Planning was subdivided into two constructs: action planning (planning when, where, and how to exercise) and coping planning (planning how to exercise in the face of barriers). Two-sample structural equation modeling was used. For both age groups, strategy use improved prediction of exercise goal attainment on top of planning, while strategy use mediated the relationship between coping planning and goal attainment. Interventions fostering strategy use as well as planning might enhance exercise adherence across age groups.