Comparing Psychosocial Predictors of Physical Activity Adoption and Maintenance



Most health behavior models do not distinguish between determinants of behavior adoption and maintenance.


This study compared psychosocial predictors of physical activity (PA) adoption and predictors of PA maintenance among 205 initially sedentary adults enrolled in a home-based PA promotion trial.


Psychosocial variables were measured at 6 months (at which point 107 participants remained inactive and 98 participants adopted regular PA) and used to predict 12-month PA status (an indicator of PA adoption among those inactive at 6 months and an indicator of PA maintenance among those active at 6 months).


Six-month PA status moderated the relationships between 6-month measures of home access to PA equipment (p = .049), self-efficacy (p = .086), and perceived satisfaction (p = .062) and 12-month PA status. Simple effects analyses revealed that home access to PA equipment was predictive of PA adoption (OR = 1.73; 95% CI: 1.05, 2.85), but not PA maintenance (OR = 0.88; 95% CI: 0.58, 1.35), whereas self-efficacy and perceived satisfaction were predictive of PA maintenance (OR = 2.65; 95% CI: 1.55, 4.52; OR = 1.95; 95% CI: 0.93, 4.06), but not PA adoption (OR = 1.50; 95% CI: 0.87, 2.57; OR = 0.82, CI: 0.44, 1.52).


Results suggest that these psychosocial variables may operate differently in predicting PA adoption versus maintenance.

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This project was supported in part through grants from the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (R01 HL69866 to Dr. Marcus and F32 HL78709 to Dr. Williams) and a career development award (Dr. Williams, Scholar; Dr. Coustan, PI) from the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (K12 HD043447). This study was performed at the Centers for Behavioral and Preventive Medicine at Brown Medical School and The Miriam Hospital. We would like to thank Santina Horowitz, B.S., Jaime Longval, M.S., and Susan Pinheiro, B.S. for research assistance and Barbara Doll for her assistance with manuscript preparation. Special thanks to Co-Investigators on R01 HL69866: Anna Albrecht, M.S., R.N., John Jakicic, Ph.D., Charles Neighbors, Ph.D., Alfred Parisi, M.D., Christopher Sciamanna, M.D., and Deborah Tate, Ph.D.

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Correspondence to David M. Williams Ph.D..

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Williams, D.M., Lewis, B.A., Dunsiger, S. et al. Comparing Psychosocial Predictors of Physical Activity Adoption and Maintenance. ann. behav. med. 36, 186–194 (2008).

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  • Adoption
  • Maintenance
  • Physical activity
  • Social cognitive theory
  • Perceived satisfaction