Journal of Behavioral Medicine

, Volume 39, Issue 2, pp 214–224 | Cite as

Variety support and exercise adherence behavior: experimental and mediating effects

  • Benjamin D. SylvesterEmail author
  • Martyn Standage
  • Desmond McEwan
  • Svenja A. Wolf
  • David R. Lubans
  • Narelle Eather
  • Megan Kaulius
  • Geralyn R. Ruissen
  • Peter R. E. Crocker
  • Bruno D. Zumbo
  • Mark R. Beauchamp


The purpose of this study was to examine the extent to which the provision of variety (i.e., variety support) is related to exercise behavior among physically inactive adults and the extent to which the ‘experience of variety’ mediates those effects. One hundred and twenty one inactive university students were randomly assigned to follow a high or low variety support exercise program for 6 weeks. Assessments were conducted at baseline, 3- and 6-weeks. Participants in the high variety support condition displayed higher levels of adherence to the exercise program than those in the low variety support condition [F(1, 116) = 5.55, p = .02, η p 2  = .05] and the relationship between variety support and adherence was mediated by perceived variety (β = .16, p < .01). Exercise-related variety support holds potential to be an efficacious method for facilitating greater exercise adherence behaviors of previously inactive people by fostering perceptions of variety.


Diverse Physical activity Resistance training Mediation Perceived variety 



This research was supported by a graduate scholarship awarded to Ben Sylvester by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada, as well as a career investigator award from the Michael Smith Foundation for Health Research awarded to Mark Beauchamp.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

Benjamin D. Sylvester, Martyn Standage, Desmond McEwan, Svenja A. Wolf, David R. Lubans, Narelle Eather, Megan Kaulius, Geralyn R. Ruissen, Peter R. E. Crocker, Bruno D. Zumbo, Mark R. Beauchamp declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Human and animal rights and Informed consent

All procedures followed were in accordance with ethical standards of the responsible committee on human experimentation (institutional and national) and with the Helsinki Declaration of 1975, as revised in 2000. Informed consent was obtained from all participants for being included in the study.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Benjamin D. Sylvester
    • 1
    Email author
  • Martyn Standage
    • 2
  • Desmond McEwan
    • 1
  • Svenja A. Wolf
    • 1
  • David R. Lubans
    • 3
  • Narelle Eather
    • 3
  • Megan Kaulius
    • 1
  • Geralyn R. Ruissen
    • 1
  • Peter R. E. Crocker
    • 1
  • Bruno D. Zumbo
    • 4
  • Mark R. Beauchamp
    • 1
  1. 1.Psychology of Exercise Health and Physical Activity Lab, School of KinesiologyThe University of British ColumbiaVancouverCanada
  2. 2.Department for HealthUniversity of BathBathEngland, UK
  3. 3.School of EducationThe University of NewcastleNewcastleAustralia
  4. 4.Department of Educational and Conselling Psychology, and Special EducationThe University of British ColumbiaVancouverCanada

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