Using the stages of change model to increase the adoption of physical activity among community participants

Am J Health Promot. 1992 Jul-Aug;6(6):424-9. doi: 10.4278/0890-1171-6.6.424.


Purpose: This study examined the use of the stages of change model to design an exercise intervention for community volunteers.

Design: The "Imagine Action" campaign was a community-wide event incorporating the involvement of local worksites and community agencies. Community members registering for the campaign were enrolled in a six-week intervention program designed to encourage participation in physical activity.

Subjects: Six hundred and ten adults aged 18 to 82 years old enrolled in the program. Seventy-seven percent of the participants were female and the average age was 41.8 years (SD = 13.8).

Setting: The campaign was conducted in a city with a population of approximately 72,000 and was promoted throughout community worksites, area schools, organizations, and local media channels.

Measures: One question designed to assess current stage of exercise adoption was included on the campaign registration form as were questions about subject name, address, telephone number, birthdate, and gender.

Intervention: The intervention included written materials designed to encourage participants to initiate or increase physical activity, a resource manual describing activity options in the community, and weekly "fun walks" and "activity nights."

Results: A Stuart-Maxwell test for correlated proportions revealed that subjects were significantly more active after the six-week intervention. Sixty-two percent of participants in Contemplation became more active while 61% in Preparation became more active.

Conclusions: Most participants increased their stage of exercise adoption during the six-week intervention. This study provides preliminary support for use of the stages of change model in designing exercise interventions.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Community Health Services / methods
  • Community Health Services / organization & administration*
  • Exercise*
  • Female
  • Health Behavior
  • Health Promotion / methods
  • Health Promotion / organization & administration*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Models, Psychological
  • Physical Fitness*
  • Urban Population