Testing Gender Differences in a Model for Exercise Adherence in U.S. Army Reservists


Name: Mary Ellen Simpson


Organization: University of Missouri, Columbia

Performance Site: University of Missouri, Columbia, MO; 139th Med. Group Units: 4207th US Army Hospital, Kirksville, MO; 5503rd US Army Hospital, Columbia, MO; 21st General Hospital, St. Louis, MO; 325th Field Hospital, Kansas City, MO; 313th Hospital, Unit Surgical, Springfield, MO

Year Published: 1996

Abstract Status: Final


Note: Dissertation available through University of Missouri. Twin Cities Library's MNCAT. Location and Call #: TC Bio-Medical Library WY130 T945eThe primary aim of this study was to conduct a multi-group analysis of the Exercise Adherence Interactional Model (EAIM) latent variables using structural equation modeling. This study lends further support to the premise that gender-based differences in exercise behavior continue to occur in the context of middle-aged-healthy adults.Questionnaires were distributed to 723 U.S. Army reservists throughout the Midwest and Eastern United States. Instruments included the Exercise Benefit/Barrier Scale (Sechrist, Walker, & Pender, 1987), Exercise Self-Efficacy Scale (Sallis, Pinski, Grossman, Patterson, & Nader, 1988), self-reports of exercise, Borg Scale, Army Physical Fitness Test scores, and anthropometric measures.In the testing of the EAIM, two classes of models were examined. First, the measurement model was specified through a series of observed variables that adequately measured the underlying theoretical (latent) constructs. Reliability and validity of the latent constructs were demonstrated for the measurement model. The measurement model demonstrated acceptable fit criteria in an invariant test of latent covariances (unconstrained) by gender.Second, the causal relationships among the theoretical variables and the strength of those relationships were examined. The EAIM model, as a complex constellation of biological, social, behavioral, environmental, and psychological constructs was validated. The contention that self-efficacy serves a mediational role between psychosocial cognitions and environmental variables in the adherence to an exercise regimen were supported. The most striking results from this research are that for females the barriers have a much stronger direct effect on exercise self-efficacy, whereas for males, the benefits of exercise have a stronger direct effect on self-efficacy.Implications for maintaining a physically fit force and differential effects by gender are discussed. In the broadest sense, research that assists in understanding the determinants of regular physical activity is a public health imperative for reaching Healthy People 2000, 2010, and beyond.