Increasing physical activity in adults : identifying mechanisms of goal-setting theory Public Deposited

http://ir.library.oregonstate.edu/concern/graduate_thesis_or_dissertations/ng451n811

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  • Walking is the most popular type of physical activity among the adult population in the United States including individuals with disabilities. Considering the popularity of the activity, walking-related physical activity should be a focus of health promotion campaigns among the adult population. Rhodes and Nigg (2011) suggested that employing theory-based interventions lead to a better understanding of physical activity behavior and to the development of effective interventions. The goal of this project is to provide an effective intervention strategy using goal-setting theory. Two studies were conducted to examine the effectiveness of goal-setting strategies to increase physical activity behavior among middle-aged adults and to identify the specific mechanisms of goal-setting theory. The first study examined the effects of different degrees of specific and difficult step goals on increasing physical activity, using a pedometer. A total of 96 adults were randomly assigned into five different goal groups: (a) easy, (b) difficult, (c) improbable, (d) do-your-best, and (e) no goal group. A 2 x 5 (time by group) repeated measures ANOVA revealed that there were significant time by group interactions. The increases in step counts in the difficult and improbable goal groups were greater than the remaining groups. In addition, there were no significant differences on the rates of goal achievement among specific and difficult goal groups. These findings suggest that when people have higher goals, they are more likely to increase their levels of physical activity. Future studies should examine the long-term effects of goal setting on physical activity. The second study examined the effects of goal commitment on physical activity promotion. A total of 69 adults were randomly assigned into different goal groups and their performances were compared. Participants' level of goal commitment was collected by survey. Results from multiple regression analyses showed that goal and goal commitment had a direct effect on increasing daily step count. However, there was no evidence for the moderating effect of goal commitment on the relationship between goals and performance. Results of this study suggest that goal setting and goal commitment are important predictors of change in physical activity levels. The results of this project suggest that physical activity promotion programs should use specific and difficult goals to increase a person's performance rather than vague and easily achievable goals. Also, it is important that participants make a commitment to achieve the goal. Future studies should examine the strategies for increasing goal commitment.
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