Education and Human Sciences, College of (CEHS)


Date of this Version



A DISSERTATION Presented to the Faculty of The Graduate College at the University of Nebraska In Partial Fulfillment of Requirements For the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy, Major: Interdepartmental Area of Psychological Studies in Education (Counseling Psychology), Under the Supervision of Professor Michael Scheel. Lincoln, Nebraska: November, 2010
Copyright 2010 Felicia M. Johnson.


This study aimed at investigating the factors predictive of exercise for short-term (i.e., at least six months) and long-term (i.e., at least one year) adherence at a fitness facility. Exercise adherence, defined through the Transtheoretical Model (TTM) as the maintenance stage of change, and frequency of participation in exercise were measured through member utilization of the fitness facility as it occurred in the participant’s natural setting without interference of the researcher. Each time a member entered the exercise facility they scanned their member card and their attendance was automatically recorded into the membership computer system. Fitness Planning & Positive Appraisal, Social Support, Weight and Diet, and Stress Management were the factors studied to predict exercise adherence. The factors were measured using the ProActive Wellness Assessment (PWA), a 60-item self-report measure designed to understand a respondent’s satisfaction with self-efficacious factors that implement and aid in maintaining healthy behavior change. The results of a linear regression analysis revealed that Fitness Planning & Positive Appraisal, a measure of a person’s enjoyment of exercise, exercise on a regular basis through planning, and feelings of achievement, significantly predicted the frequency of exercise for both short- and long-term exercise adherence (β = .30, p < .001). Further, the overall R2 value for the model was .09. The results of this study suggest that positive appraisal and planning are important factors in the maintenance of physical activity. Further, it appears that the constructs of greatest interest, those related to positive appraisal of one’s attitude towards exercise and their ability to make a plan are the most salient for predicting behavior change outcomes through successful initiation and maintenance of exercise.