A grounded theory of successful long-term physical activity behaviour change

HUTCHISON, Andrew, JOHNSTON, Lynne and BRECKON, Jeff (2013). A grounded theory of successful long-term physical activity behaviour change. Qualitative Research in Sport and Exercise, 5 (1), 109-126.

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Link to published version:: https://doi.org/10.1080/2159676X.2012.693529


This paper presents a grounded theory of successful long-term physical activity (PA) behaviour change. Currently, a range of theoretical frameworks are available to guide researchers and practitioners in the development and implementation of PA behaviour change interventions. However, none of these theoretical approaches are specifically intended to account for PA-related behaviours. In addition, there is limited evidence to support the efficacy of current intervention strategies, particularly in the long term. To obtain a more ecologically valid explanation of successful PA behaviour change, this study describes the development of an explanatory model of successful PA behaviour change, grounded in relevant ‘real life’ experiences. To achieve this, a grounded theory methodology was adopted. Twenty-one adult participants, who had previously led sedentary lifestyles and had successfully completed a physical activity referral scheme to increase their PA participation, took part in in-depth interviews. All participants had been maintaining an increase in levels of PA participation for between four and seven years. An explanatory model of PA behaviour change is presented, which identifies individual core beliefs or values alongside various situational/informational cues, as key behavioural determinants. The results are discussed based on their contribution to the advancement of theoretical insights and applied practices within exercise psychology.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: UoA26
Research Institute, Centre or Group - Does NOT include content added after October 2018: Centre for Sport and Exercise Science
Identification Number: https://doi.org/10.1080/2159676X.2012.693529
Page Range: 109-126
Depositing User: Rachel Davison
Date Deposited: 05 Jul 2012 08:37
Last Modified: 18 Mar 2021 20:15
URI: https://shura.shu.ac.uk/id/eprint/5505

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