Understanding Exercise Intention in an Ethnically Diverse Sample of Postpartum Women

in Journal of Sport and Exercise Psychology
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Research examining the determinants of exercise motivation among ethnically diverse women is scant. The purpose of this study was to examine the predictive utility of the theories of reasoned action and planned behavior (TRA/TPB) for explaining exercise intention among postpartum women and to examine the moderating influence of ethnicity. Participants were 63 low-income postpartum women (n = 16 white, 47 non-white) who completed self-reported measures of their exercise attitude, subjective norm, perceived behavioral control (PBC), and intention. Hierarchical regression analyses indicated that (a) attitude (β = .59, p < .05) and subjective norm (β = .29, p < .001) explained 66% of the variance in intention, (b) PBC (β = .03, p > .05) was not a significant predictor, and (c) the contributions of the theory constructs predicting intention were not moderated by ethnicity. The study findings provide preliminary support for the utility of the TRA as a framework for understanding exercise intention among ethnically diverse postpartum women. The lack of predictive support for TPB may be due to ethnic/cultural differences or methodological limitations with PBC; however, future research is needed to test this assumption.

The author is with the Dept. of Kinesiology, 266 Recreation Bldg, The Pennsylvania State University, University Park, PA 16802-5701.

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