Predictors of adoption and maintenance of vigorous physical activity in men and women

Prev Med. 1992 Mar;21(2):237-51. doi: 10.1016/0091-7435(92)90022-a.


Background: This study examined predictors of adoption and maintenance of vigorous physical activity over time in a sample of 1,719 randomly selected women and men.

Methods: Based on reported frequency of vigorous exercise in a mail survey at baseline, subjects were classified as sedentary (zero sessions per week), intermediate (one to two sessions per week), or active (three or more sessions per week).

Results: On the same survey subjects reported on 25 potential determinants of physical activity based on a comprehensive learning model. Twenty-four months later, 85% of subjects were resurveyed, and their physical activity levels were classified. Within each baseline category and gender subgroup, predictors of follow-up physical activity were identified. In multivariate analyses, adoption of vigorous exercise by sedentary men was predicted by self-efficacy, age (inverse), and neighborhood environment (inverse). Adoption by sedentary women was predicted by education, self-efficacy, and friend and family support for exercise. Maintenance of vigorous physical activity was predicted by self-efficacy and age (inverse) for initially active men and by education for initially active women.

Conclusion: These results suggest that factors influencing adoption are different for men and women, and there may be different factors influencing adoption versus maintenance of vigorous physical activity.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Data Collection
  • Exercise*
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Health Behavior*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Sex Factors