Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


This study described the activity patterns of students in a high school fitness class and explored the structural relations between particular student characteristics and their coded exercise behavior. Exercise behavior was systematically coded during an 8-week jogging unit in 10 high school physical education classes. Additional measures of distance covered, heart rate, perceived exertion, percent of days participated, and fitness level were also collected. Although percent of time spent jogging was low (18%), with no significant gains made in cardiovascular fitness, the amount of time spent jogging, the distance covered, and fitness level were all significantly correlated (r $>$.48, p $<$.05). A LISREL VI computer program was used to test four structural equation models representing extensions of the Fishbein Behavioral-Intention Model. Two models (1 & 3) included both direct and indirect pathways from attitude, subjective norm, and background to exercise behavior while Models 2 & 4 contained only indirect paths, mediated by intention. Model 4, in support of the Fishbein and Ajzen theory, showed the prediction of exercise behavior by attitude and subjective norm to be significantly mediated by intention. Although only approaching significance, subjective norm was found to be the stronger predictor of intention over attitude. Background variables were found to indirectly influence intention through their significant influence on attitude and subjective norm. Although not significant, but in agreement with other research findings, Model 3 indicates the direct structural relation between attitude and exercise behavior to be slightly stronger than the direct structural relation with intention. For this sample of 9th and 10th graders, significant others, particularly peers and teachers, had a stronger impact on behavior than personal attitudes about activity.