Psychosocial mediators of stages of change in physical activity
The development of chronic health problems worldwide, combined with the related widespread behavior of sedentary lifestyles, points to an urgent need for knowledge on how to provide effective population-level strategies for increased physical activity. The main purpose of the present research were to examine
a) The baseline distributions on main outcome variables of the intervention and control group of a community-based physical activity promoting intervention study ("Romsås in Motion").
b) The effect of the intervention and of its various program components on transition in stages of change in physical activity.
c) The relationship of psychosocial influences to stage of change in physical activity and the mediating effect of these influences to stages of change in physical activity and anthropometric moderators of the relationships and effects in b) and c).
Paper I revealed high levels of physical inactivity or irregular activity in the target population, but favorable values on severel potential pscychosocial mediators of forward movement in the stages of change in physicial activity. Paper III reveald a significant favorable intervention effect on stages of change in physcial activity. Paper IV indicated that participation in walking and aerobic exercise groups, having seen the "walk the stairs" poster, and having used the walk path, were especially effective in this regard. The most promising psychosocial mediators of forward transition in the stages of change included ones identification as a physically active person, ones perception of having control over being physically active, support from family and from friends for being physically active, and ones self-efficacy for accomplishing physical activity despite facing psycoholgical barrieers. (Papers II-IV). Papers II-IV also indicated that relationships among the intervention, psychosocial mediators, and stage were not moderated by gender, age ethnicity education, or Body Mass Index (BMI) level. However, the walk path was effective in women and Westerners only.
The present research identified several promising population-based intervention strategies with respect to forward transition in the stages of change in physical activity and suggested that psycososcial influences may play an important role in mediating such movement. These results provide useful information as to how the "Romsås in Motion" intervention worked and may inform future activity interventions targeting similar population groups.