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Health Psychol. 2000 Nov;19(6):605-12.

The effect of life events and exercise program format on the adoption and maintenance of exercise behavior.

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  • 1Department of Health Promotion Sciences, College of Public Health, University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center, Oklahoma City 73190, USA.


This study prospectively investigated the effects of major life events on subsequent exercise adherence rates of individuals (N = 173) participating in a 2-year, randomized, controlled clinical trial of 3 different exercise conditions (higher-intensity home-based; lower-intensity home-based; and higher-intensity class-based). For 3 of 4 6-month exercise-adherence periods, an analysis of variance indicated a significant main effect (p < .05) for major life events. Compared with participants reporting 0 or 1 major life event, exercise adherence in the maintenance phase was significantly lower for those reporting 3 or 4 major life events regardless of the exercise condition. No significant life-event-exercise-adherence relationship was found in the adoption phase of exercise participation (i.e., Months 1 to 6). The deleterious effect of life events emphasizes the importance of instruction regarding how to prepare for high-risk situations that can lead to missed exercise sessions or to program attrition.

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