Physician-based activity counseling: intervention effects on mediators of motivational readiness for physical activity

Ann Behav Med. 2001 Winter;23(1):2-10. doi: 10.1207/S15324796ABM2301_2.


In theory-based interventions for behavior change, there is a need to examine the effects of interventions on the underlying theoretical constructs and the mediating role of such constructs. These two questions are addressed in the Physically Active for Life study, a randomized trial of physician-based exercise counseling for older adults. Three hundred fifty-five patients participated (intervention n = 181, control n = 174; mean age = 65.6 years). The underlying theories used were the Transtheoretical Model, Social Cognitive Theory and the constructs of decisional balance (benefits and barriers), self-efficacy, and behavioral and cognitive processes of change. Motivational readiness for physical activity and related constructs were assessed at baseline, 6 weeks, and 8 months. Linear or logistic mixed effects models were used to examine intervention effects on the constructs, and logistic mixed effects models were used for mediator analyses. At 6 weeks, the intervention had significant effects on decisional balance, self-efficacy, and behavioral processes, but these effects were not maintained at 8 months. At 6 weeks, only decisional balance and behavioral processes were identified as mediators of motivational readiness outcomes. Results suggest that interventions of greater intensity and duration may be needed for sustained changes in mediators and motivational readiness for physical activity among older adults.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Multicenter Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Exercise* / psychology
  • Female
  • Health Promotion / methods*
  • Humans
  • Linear Models
  • Male
  • Massachusetts
  • Middle Aged
  • Motivation*
  • Primary Health Care*
  • Psychological Theory
  • Self Efficacy