Exercise adherence: testing a goal attainment intervention program
A quasi-experimental time-series study was conducted to determine the effectiveness of an educational program with two treatment components (length of program and presence of a decision-making procedure) on exercise goal attainment of 133 college students at 12 and 24 weeks. One hundred (75.2%) of the participants completed the entire 24-week study period. King's (1981) theory of goal attainment, Locke and Latham's (1990) concepts of goal commitment and desirability and Bandura's (1986) concept of self-efficacy formed the theoretical foundation for this study. The exercise program was designed to meet health promotion and disease prevention objectives in Healthy People 2000. A goal attainment scaling score (GAS) was obtained to determine the level of exercise goal attainment at 12 and 24 weeks. The following variables were included in the study: (a) length of program, (b) the presence or absence of the decision-making procedure, (c) the health promoting lifestyle behaviors (Health Promoting Lifestyle Profile), (d) self-efficacy, (e) goal commitment, (f) health values and beliefs (Health Values and Beliefs Index), (g) desire for health information and control over health behaviors (Krantz Health Opinion Survey), (h) importance of health, and (i) demographics. Although exercise goal attainment improved over the 24 weeks (being higher at 12 weeks than 24 weeks), there were no significant differences between exercise goal attainment of the participants using the decision-making procedure and those who did not (F =.639, p =.427) or between those attending a three-week program and those attending a 12-week program (F =.743, p =.478). There were significant relationships between exercise goal attainment and (a) self-efficacy for days/week of exercise at 24 weeks (r =.2926, p =.01), (b) health-promoting lifestyle behaviors and the original exercise goal attainment level (r =.2851, p =.01), and (c) goal commitment for the semester/session at 12 weeks (r =.2375, p =.01) and 24 weeks (r =.3540, p =.01); goal commitment for six months at 12 weeks (r =.2457, p =.01) and 24 weeks (r =.3078, p =.01). Using multiple regression, importance of exercise was the primary predictor of original and 24-week exercise behaviors. The self-efficacy for days/week was the primary predictor of exercise goal attainment at 12 weeks. The study demonstrated that King's (1981) theory of goal attainment can be applied to an exercise program which used group processes in a university setting. One-on-one researcher-participant interactions were allowed but only 30 (30%) of the participants had such interaction.