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Am J Prev Med. 2002 Aug;23(2 Suppl):80-6.

Intervention-related cognitive versus social mediators of exercise adherence in the elderly.

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Stanford Center for Research in Disease Prevention, Department of Medicine, Stanford University School of Medicine, Palo Alto, California, USA.



Participation in regular physical activity is recognized as one of the most important health behaviors associated with the prevention of chronic disease and the promotion of health and well-being among the elderly. Although a number of cross-sectional studies have reported predictors of physical activity participation, few studies have assessed changes in intervention-related mediators associated with physical activity adherence in the elderly.


The purpose of this study was to compare the relative abilities of cognitive mediating variables (i.e., self-efficacy beliefs and outcome expectancies/realizations) versus a social mediating variable (i.e., exercise-related social support) to examine mediators of a telephone-based, exercise-counseling intervention on exercise adherence during months 7 to 12 of an exercise intervention.


Participants were 103 community-dwelling, healthy, sedentary, older adults (67 women and 36 men). Self-efficacy for exercise, outcome expectancies/realizations, and social support for exercise were assessed at baseline, 6 months, and 12 months. Participants received telephone-based exercise counseling to promote exercise adherence during the course of two 12-month exercise programs (i.e., aerobic/strength or flexibility exercises).


Changes in cognitive mediators (i.e., self-efficacy and fitness outcome realizations) were associated with 7- to 12-month exercise adherence while exercise-related social support was not.


Attention should be given to increasing confidence in the elderly to overcome barriers to exercise and achieve relevant fitness outcomes in exercise programs.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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