Exercise status, exercise stages of change, and perceived barriers to exercise of community college employees
The purpose of this study was to determine if differences existed between selected demographics (age, gender, and level of education), status of exercise, exercise stages of change, and perceived barriers to exercise for employees at a community college in northern Texas. The sample used for this study was full-time and part-time employees at a community college in north Texas, age 18 years old and older. A research instrument developed by the investigator was used to collect data on exercise habits, exercise stages of change (precontemplation, contemplation, preparation, action, and maintenance), and barriers to exercise, as well as demographic information (age, gender, and highest level of education). The survey questionnaire was distributed via interoffice mail to the 787 employees of the four community college campus locations. Participation was voluntary and anonymous. A total of 207 completed questionnaires were returned to the investigator. The data were analyzed using descriptive statistics and chi-square analysis. Of the respondents, 79.2% were females, 81.6% were between the ages of 18 and 54, and 65.2% earned at least a bachelor's degree; 76.3% were identified as exercisers (i.e., exercised at least once per week for a total combined time of at least 30 minutes per day). The results of the study indicated a statistically significant difference by level of education for both exercise status and exercise stages of change (p = .05), with those with higher education levels having a greater proportion of exercisers and a greater proportion of individuals in the action and maintenance stages of change. The study also showed that the most common perceived barriers for non-exercisers were being too tired to exercise and not knowing how to begin exercising, and for exercisers, not having enough time to exercise and being too ill or injured to exercise. These findings suggest that employees' readiness to participate may differ based on education level, and that this difference should be taken into consideration in the tailoring of worksite exercise programs for more-educated versus less-educated workforce segments. Barriers to exercise should also be addressed to help motivate individuals to progress to higher stages of readiness and action so as to increase physical activity adoption and adherence.