A worksite intervention to enhance social cognitive theory constructs to promote exercise adherence
Hallam, J.; Petosa, R.
American Journal of Health Promotion Ajhp 13(1): 4-7
ISSN/ISBN: 0890-1171 PMID: 10186934 DOI: 10.4278/0890-1171-13.1.4
The results suggest social cognitive theory variables associated with the adoption of exercise are changeable in a brief worksite intervention. Self-regulation techniques and outcome-expectancy value improved, but self-efficacy did not improve for the treatment group. One possible explanation is, the intervention did not adequately address the ability to overcome barriers to exercise faced by participants in the intervention. Another explanation may be the effect of experiencing the barriers to exercise faced by subjects during the first 4 weeks of a self-regulated exercise program. Before engaging in exercise, the participants had a perceived level of confidence to overcome barriers to exercise. Once faced with real barriers to exercise, the subjects may have reevaluated their ability to overcome these barriers. It is interesting that the comparison group reported small decreases in all social cognitive theory variables measured in this study. The comparison group received a program of assessment, instruction, and access to facilities that is common to many worksite-based fitness promotion programs. Clearly, this approach did not have a favorable impact on psychosocial variables associated with exercise adherence. These results may be explained by a reevaluation of beliefs and perceived capabilities to exercise, once faced with the real experiences and barriers related to the adoption of an exercise program. The small decreases in social cognitive theory variables in the comparison group may explain high dropout rates in many fitness center programs and warrant further study. Health promotion specialists at the worksite need intervention programs that are safe, effective, and efficient for their employees. This intervention was based in the classroom, and no exercise was performed during class. This is appealing to employees who do not have access to shower facilities at the worksite. Moreover, in many interventions, subjects exercise during class and have limited time to learn specific skills to help them adopt and maintain exercise outside the structure of the intervention. Having established favorable changes in social cognitive theory constructs attributable to the intervention, a follow-up study should be conducted to determine the extent to which these changes predict adherence to regular exercise. These studies would establish the causal linkages between social cognitive theory constructs and regular exercise. There were specific limitations, and the results should be interpreted cautiously. The sample size was relatively small, although similar to other exercise intervention research reviewed by Dishman. Another limitation of the sample was no random assignment to treatment or comparison group. The results apply only to the subjects who volunteered for this study. The measure of outcome-expectancy value is the most vulnerable of those used to measure outcome expectations and outcome expectancies. It is possible that the results of the study would be substantially altered if a better measure were available. The data were collected through self-administered questionnaires. It was assumed the subjects would provide accurate information, but reliance on self-reported data introduces potential sources of error.