Graduation date: 1998Given the high risk of relapse during the first year of exercise involvement, it is\ud important to determine the processes of self-motivation which enable novice exercisers to\ud become long-term maintainers. This study was designed to extend previous Stages of\ud Change (Prochaska & DiClemente, 1983) research by comparing the Possible Selves (Markus\ud & Nurius, 1986) of individuals at different points within the Maintenance stage of exercise.\ud Participants consisted of female university employees, spouses, and dependents age 35-59\ud years who volunteered for the study. Participants completed the Stage of Exercise Scale\ud (SOES; Cardinal, 1995) and a self-administered form of the Possible Selves Inventory (Cross\ud & Markus, 1991) which was adapted to address the exercise domain. Women classified by\ud the SOES as being in the Maintenance stage of exercise V=92) were assigned to one of\ud three groups based on the duration of their exercise maintenance (6 months-5 years, 6-10\ud years, and 11-20 years). The three maintenance groups were compared with regard to the\ud number and category of open-ended and exercise-related possible selves and the self-efficacy\ud and outcome expectancy associated with three focused selves (most important, exercise-related,\ud and exercise-specific). The results indicated that the three maintenance groups did\ud not differ significantly in their possible selves. These findings provide support for the\ud current conceptualization of the Stages of Change Model (Prochaska & Di Clemente, 1983)\ud and suggest that differences between novice and expert maintainers may be behavioral,\ud rather than cognitive, in nature. Several implications for intervention design and suggestions\ud for future research are discussed
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