PHYSICAL ACTIVITY STAGES OF CHANGE, SELF-EFFICACY, AND PERCEIVED NEEDS AND INTERESTS OF COOPERATIVE EXTENSION FAMILY AND CONSUMER SCIENCES AGENTS AND CLIENTELE.
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A survey was conducted among 243 Family and Consumer Sciences educators and clientele in Virginia's Cooperative Extension program. Attitudes, preferences, stages of change, perceived incentives and barriers, along with desired education channels and activities were analyzed to provide a basis for development of effective Extension publications and programs aimed to increase and improve levels of physical activity.
Results from this study indicate that almost half of the respondents are not regularly engaging in physical activity and 31% are not engaging in any activity. Data revealed significant relationships between the stages of exercise change with respondents' levels of confidence (p<.0001) and with decisional balance scores (p<.0001). Participants who lead sedentary lifestyles or participate occasionally in physical activity (precontemplation contemplation, and preparation stages) viewed the barriers of physical activity to surpass the benefits. Consequently, these participants had low confidence in their ability to participate in physical activity. On the other hand, participants who exercised on a regular basis (action and maintenance stages) perceive the benefits for physical activity to outweigh the barriers. Furthermore, these participants had high confidence in their ability to exercise in challenging situations. Results from this study also suggest that stage of exercise change may be related to an individual's educational level.
Regardless of age and gender, educational channels in which respondents selected to receive physical activity information were brochures and newsletters. In addition, activities in which respondents were most frequently engaging were walking and yard work. The activity that subjects selected as a means to increase physical activity levels was also walking.
The results from this study can help Extension agents and specialists develop appealing physical activity educational materials and programs that meet the needs of FCS clients. These programs may help FCS clients incorporate regular physical activity in their daily lives, moving closer to achieving the State's objective for increasing physical activity among Virginia adults and, thus, leading to improved quality of life.
- Masters Theses