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There are no previous data on factors at multiple levels associated with the stages of change for dog walking. The current study examined psychosocial and environmental correlates of the stages of change for dog walking among Japanese dog owners.
Dog owners (N = 1940) completed a self-administered questionnaire that included items about demographics as well as psychosocial (dog attachment, dog obligation, normative belief, social norm, social support, self-efficacy) and environmental (access to areas, neighborhood safety, enjoyable scenery, frequently observing others dog walking, area where dogs are allowed to be off the lead) factors. MANOVA and discriminant functional analysis were used.
The distribution of the dog owners across the stages was as follows: precontemplation (14.7%), contemplation (7.6%), preparation (39.7%), action (2.8%), and maintenance (35.2%). Although differences among the stages were found for all factors in MANOVA, the pattern of distinction among stages differed depending on the factors. Dog obligation and self-efficacy were the best predictors of the stages of change for dog walking.
Although psychosocial and environmental correlates differed with the stages, psychosocial factors such as the sense of obligation and self-efficacy in dog walking seem to make relatively stronger contributions to distinctions among the stages.
Oka and Shibata are with the Faculty of Sport Sciences, Waseda University, Tokorozawa, Saitama, Japan.