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Prev Med. 1990 Sep;19(5):541-51.

Psychosocial predictors of physical activity in adolescents.

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  • 1Stanford Center for Research in Disease Prevention, California.


Regular physical activity consistently demonstrates an inverse relationship with coronary heart disease and has positive effects on quality of life and other psychological variables. Despite the benefits of exercise, many youth and adults maintain a sedentary lifestyle. Interventions are needed, particularly with youth, to increase levels of physical activity. A better understanding of the psychosocial predictors of physical activity will aid in structuring these interventions. Longitudinal data from a cohort of 743 10th-grade students from the control condition of the Stanford Adolescent Heart Health Program were analyzed. Regression analysis indicated that psychosocial variables were significantly related to physical activity after controlling for baseline levels of physical activity and BMI. Associations with physical activity were found for intention to exercise, self-efficacy, stress, and direct social influence. The designers of future interventions should consider including program components that target these variables.

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