Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



Document Type



Physical activity has long been regarded as a key component to a healthy lifestyle; however, the U.S. has disturbingly high rates of sedentary behavior and related chronic illnesses (National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, 2003). While many studies have attempted to address inactive lifestyle, few have reached out to high risk groups, such as African Americans and low income individuals. A recent review of the physical activity literature among African Americans called for more research with this population and encouraged future studies to focus on enduring exercise behavior (at least 6 months post intervention) and use theory-based interventions (Banks-Wallace & Conn, 2002). The transtheoretical model (TTM) is the predominant theoretical model utilized in the physical activity promotion literature. TTM-based studies have shown promising results in promoting physical activity among Caucasians. Recently, a stage-matched mail-delivered intervention was implemented among a predominantly African American low income sample (Whitehead, Bodenlos, Jones, Cowles, & Brantley, 2007). Results indicated that the intervention produced modest increases in self-reported physical activity at one month, but effects were diminished by six months. Thus, the current study saught to maintain these gains by supplementing the mail-delivered intervention with two telephone-delivered motivational interviews and five monthly newsletters, while also addressing methodological problems common to this research area. Overall, results from the current study indicated that participants increased in stage of change and self-reported physical activity from baseline to six months; however, there were no significant group differences in changes in physical activity, self efficacy, or decisional balance. These findings suggest that the physical activity intervention needs and preferences of low income African Americans require further examination. While 90% of this sample reported preferring to receive physical activity information in the mail, as opposed to telephone or Internet, the current intervention was developed and tested among mostly Caucasians and may not be appropriate for use among African Americans due to cultural differences regarding physical activity. Future researchers should consider using qualitative methods to develop culturally sensitive physical activity print materials for low income African Americans.



Document Availability at the Time of Submission

Release the entire work immediately for access worldwide.

Committee Chair

Phillip J. Brantley, Ph.D.



Included in

Psychology Commons