Sex Roles

, Volume 57, Issue 11–12, pp 837–849 | Cite as

Midlife Women’s Physical Activity Goals: Sociocultural Influences and Effects on Behavioral Regulation

  • Michelle L. Segar
  • Jacquelynne S. Eccles
  • Stephen C. Peck
  • Caroline R. Richardson
Original Article


A better understanding of midlife women’s exercise goals could offer insight into the psychosocial facilitators and barriers to their participation. A random sample of US working women (40–60 years) was taken, and resulted in 262 participants. Cluster analysis identified participants’ most important physical activity goal. A five goal cluster solution was identified: (1) sense of well-being; (2) weight loss; (3) health benefits; (4) stress reduction; and (5) weight maintenance/toning. The goal cluster solution was validated and suggested relevant sociocultural influences and potential effects on behavioral regulation (p < .05). Data showed that weight- and health-related goals have sociocultural influences and are associated with more extrinsic and less intrinsic behavioral regulation compared to stress reduction and sense of well-being goals.


Physical activity Exercise Women Goals Behavioral regulation 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • Michelle L. Segar
    • 1
  • Jacquelynne S. Eccles
    • 2
  • Stephen C. Peck
    • 2
  • Caroline R. Richardson
    • 3
  1. 1.Institute for Research on Women and GenderThe University of MichiganAnn ArborUSA
  2. 2.Institute for Social ResearchUniversity of MichiganAnn ArborUSA
  3. 3.Department of Family MedicineUniversity of MichiganAnn ArborUSA

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