Objective: The purpose was to determine adherence of apparently healthy adults who joined an exercise program with a spouse (Married Pairs) vs. without a spouse (Married Singles). It was hypothesized that Married Pairs would have significantly higher adherence than Married Singles; and that self motivation would be associated with adherence.
Experimental design: Twelve month adherence of Married Pairs and Married Singles were compared to self motivation in a retrospective design.
Setting: Subjects in this study did not volunteer for a scientific investigation, instead they were spontaneous participants in a university fitness program.
Participants: Married Pairs were 16 couples and Married Singles were 16 married men and 14 married women.
Interventions: This study observed the 12 month spontaneous participation in a fitness program. The only intervention was the self motivation questionnaire.
Measures: Adherence was defined as monthly attendance, compliance to the exercise prescription, dropout, and reason(s) for dropout. Self motivation was also measured.
Results: For Married Pairs, monthly attendance was significantly higher (54.2% +/- 10.3 vs 40.3% +/- 14.3) and dropout (6.3% vs 43.0%) was significantly lower than for Married Singles. Compliance to the exercise prescription was good for all of the groups except for the Married Single Men. Fifty percent of the dropouts left because of family responsibilities/lack of spousal support; 25% dropped-out to continue exercising on their own. Self motivation did not differ between Married Pairs and Married Singles. Monthly attendance of spouses in the Married Pairs demonstrated a significant correlation.
Conclusions: Married Pairs had significantly higher attendance and lower dropout than Married Singles which appeared to be primarily influenced by spousal support rather than by self motivation.