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Danielle Symons Downs

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.

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Danielle Symons Downs and Heather A. Hausenblas

Background:

Statistical reviews of the theories of reasoned action (TRA) and planned behavior (TPB) applied to exercise are limited by methodological issues including insufficient sample size and data to examine some moderator associations.

Methods:

We conducted a meta-analytic review of 111 TRA/TPB and exercise studies and examined the influences of five moderator variables.

Results:

We found that: a) exercise was most strongly associated with intention and perceived behavioral control; b) intention was most strongly associated with attitude; and c) intention predicted exercise behavior, and attitude and perceived behavioral control predicted intention. Also, the time interval between intention to behavior; scale correspondence; subject age; operationalization of subjective norm, intention, and perceived behavioral control; and publication status moderated the size of the effect.

Conclusions:

The TRA/TPB effectively explained exercise intention and behavior and moderators of this relationship. Researchers and practitioners are more equipped to design effective interventions by understanding the TRA/TPB constructs.

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Jennifer M. DiNallo, Danielle Symons Downs and Guy Le Masurier

Background:

To effectively promote physical activity (PA) and quantify the effects of PA interventions for pregnant women, PA measurement during pregnancy needs improvement. The purpose of this study was to assess PA monitor output during a controlled, treadmill walking protocol among pregnant women at 20- and 32-weeks gestation.

Methods:

Women (N = 43) wore an Actigraph accelerometer, NL1000, and Yamax pedometer during a 20-minute treadmill walking test [5-minute periods at 4 different speeds (54, 67, 80, and 94 m·min−1)] at 20- and 32-weeks gestation.

Results:

Repeated-measures ANOVAs indicated that Actigraph total counts/minute and minutes of moderate-vigorous PA (MVPA), NL1000 steps and minutes MVPA, and Yamax steps decreased from 20- to 32-weeks gestation (P ≤ .05), while body girth circumference and activity monitor tilt increased (P ≤ .05). Repeated measures ANCOVAs, controlling for changes in body girth and monitor tilt, yielded no significant differences in any outcome measures from 20- to 32-weeks gestation.

Conclusions:

Preliminary results suggest physical changes during pregnancy impact activity monitor output in controlled settings. Accurately measuring and statistically controlling for changes in body girth at monitor placement site and monitor tilt may improve the accuracy of activity monitors for use with pregnant populations.

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Danielle Symons Downs, Guy C. LeMasurier and Jennifer M. DiNallo

Background:

Research examining women’s pregnancy physical activity (PA) behaviors with objective measures is scant. Therefore, 2 studies were conducted to determine the feasibility of pregnant women wearing pedometers and to examine women’s self-reported and objectively measured PA behaviors.

Methods:

Participants were pregnant women (Study 1 N = 50, Study 2 N = 30) who completed the Leisure-Time Exercise Questionnaire (LTEQ) and wore a Yamax pedometer for 3 consecutive days during free living at 20- and 32-weeks gestation.

Results:

As predicted in Study 1, we found (a) 100% participant agreement in wearing the pedometer and (b) LTEQ min and pedometer-determined indices classified 67% to 86% of the participants as insufficiently active at 20-weeks gestation. In Study 2, as hypothesized, (a) mean steps/d, LTEQ total, strenuous, and mild min of PA were positively associated at 20- and 32-weeks gestation; (b) mean steps/d and LTEQ strenuous min significantly declined from 20- to 32-weeks gestation; and (c) more women were classified as sedentary and low active at 32-weeks (73%) compared with 20-weeks gestation (50%).

Conclusions:

These findings are consistent with previous epidemiological evidence documenting the decline in women’s PA behaviors across the trimesters. They also illustrate that pedometer-determined indices might be a useful tool facilitating PA adoption and maintenance during pregnancy.

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Danielle Symons Downs, Jennifer S. Savage and Jennifer M. DiNallo

Background:

Scant research has examined the determinants of primary exercise dependence symptoms in youth. Study purposes were to examine sex differences across leisure-time exercise behavior, motivation, and primary exercise dependence symptoms in youth and the extent to which exercise behavior and motivation predicted exercise dependence within the Self-Determination Theory framework.

Methods:

Adolescents (N = 805; mean age = 15 years; 46% girls) completed measures of exercise behavior, motivation, and exercise dependence in health/PE classes.

Results:

One-way ANOVA revealed boys scored higher than girls on leisure-time exercise behavior, exercise dependence symptoms, and most of the exercise motivation subscales. Hierarchical regression analyses indicated a) sex, exercise behavior, motivation, and their interaction terms explained 39% of the variance in primary exercise dependence; b) Integrated Regulation and Introjected Regulation were important determinants of exercise dependence; and c) sex moderated the contributions of External Regulation for predicting exercise dependence such that boys in the high and low external regulation groups had higher symptoms than girls in the high and low external regulation groups.

Conclusions:

These preliminary findings support the controlled dimensions of Integrated Regulation (boys, girls), Introjected Regulation (boys, girls), and External Regulation (boys only) are important determinants of primary exercise dependence symptoms.

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Danielle Symons Downs, Courtenay A. Devlin and Ryan E. Rhodes

Background:

Nearly 50% of U.S. women enter pregnancy as overweight or obese (OW/OB). There is a critical need to understand how to motivate OW/OB pregnant women for exercise behavior to improve their health and reduce adverse pregnancy outcomes.

Purpose:

To examine salient Theory of Planned Behavior belief predictors of normal weight (NW) and OW/OB pregnant women’s exercise behavior (EXB) across pregnancy.

Methods:

Pregnant women (N = 357) self-reported their exercise beliefs and behavior during each pregnancy trimester. Pearson correlations were used to examine exercise beliefs-behavior associations. Stepwise regressions were used to identify trimester (TRI) 1 and TRI 2 belief predictors of TRI 2 and TRI 3 EXB, respectively, for each weight status group. Belief endorsement was examined to identify critical beliefs.

Results:

TRI 1 EXB beliefs explained 58% of the total variance (22% NW, 36% OW/OB) in TRI 2 EXB. TRI 2 EXB beliefs explained 32% of the total variance (17% NW, 15% OW/OB) in TRI 3 EXB. Individual beliefs varied by weight status and trimester. Control beliefs emerged with the lowest endorsement; making them most critical to target for exercise interventions.

Conclusion:

Prenatal exercise interventions should be weight status specific and target salient beliefs/barriers unique to the pregnancy trimesters.

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Danielle Symons Downs, Krista S. Leonard, Jessica S. Beiler and Ian M. Paul

Background:

The study purposes were to examine (1) differences in postpartum exercise (EX) and related personal/psychological correlates in women according to prepregnancy weight and pregnancy gestational weight gain (GWG) status and (2) predictors of EX at 2 weeks, 2 months, and 6 months postpartum.

Methods:

Participants (N = 891) were recruited at maternity hospitalization and completed interviews to assess EX (Leisure-Time Exercise Questionnaire) and personal correlates (demographics, anxiety/depressive symptoms) before/during pregnancy. Telephone interviews were conducted to assess postpartum EX/psychological correlates. Women were categorized according to prepregnancy weight (normal and overweight) and pregnancy GWG status (above or within weight gain guidelines): normal-above, normal-within, overweight-above, and overweight-within.

Results:

Low levels of EX minutes were observed in all women with significant differences for strenuous EX minutes (overweight-within women had the lowest strenuous EX; normal-weight women had more strenuous EX than overweight women regardless of GWG). Correlates explained 14%–37% of the variance in postpartum EX; prepregnancy EX and pregnancy EX were strong determinants of early postpartum EX, and early postpartum EX predicted 6-month postpartum EX. Unique predictors of EX also emerged (eg, depressive symptoms for women with GWG above guidelines).

Conclusions:

These study findings highlight the benefits of EX before/during pregnancy for promoting postpartum EX and suggest tailoring postpartum EX interventions based on personal/psychological correlates to maximize effectiveness.