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J Cardiopulm Rehabil. 1997 May-Jun;17(3):145-55.

Use of the stages of change in exercise adherence model among older adults with a cardiac diagnosis.

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  • 1School of Nursing, Creighton University, Omaha, NE 68178, USA.



Researchers have recommended use of the Stages of Change in Exercise Adherence (STAGES), a process-oriented model, to better understand exercise adherence behavior. This study aimed to further understand the process by evaluating the predictors of exercise adherence and the validity of the STAGES model among older adults (N = 349) with a cardiac diagnosis after discharge from a cardiac rehabilitation inpatient program.


Recently discharged inpatient participants, aged 65 years or older and ambulatory, responded to a computer-assisted telephone interview regarding their exercise behaviors and attitudes toward exercise (mean response time = 32.3 minutes). Between 55 and 80 participants in each of five stages of exercise adherence were interviewed. Demographic profiles and other information were obtained from a chart review of cardiac rehabilitation inpatient records.


Perceived self-efficacy, perceived benefits of exercise, interpersonal support for exercise, and perceived barriers to exercise were significant predictors of exercise adherence using direct entry discriminant analysis. These predictors accounted for 50% of the variance in stage of exercise adherence. The theoretical ordering of the STAGES model was supported (P < .0001). Exercise time significantly increased with each subsequent stage of exercise adherence from the precontemplation stage to the maintenance stage.


This study evaluated the validity of the STAGES model in a sample of older cardiac rehabilitation participants. The STAGES model can be applied to the study of exercise behavior among this group of older adults.

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