(Marcus, Forsyth, Stone, Dubbert, McKenzie, Dunn & Blair 2000) This lack of physical activity among the elderly is of even greater concern when considering the changing demographics.
The intention to perform a behavior is the most important factor to actually engaging in future behavior, according to Fishbein and Ajzens (Fishbein & Ajzen 1975) Theory of Reasoned Action (TRA) and Ajzens (Ajzen 1985) extended Theory of Planned Behavior (TPB) model. The TRA states that an intention is formed through a weighted appraisal of attitudes towards a behavior and the subjective norms for this behavior.
The TRA/TPB suggests subjective norms reflect the summed products of the following 2 factors: (i) the individuals beliefs that referents (such as family and friends) influence the behavior in question; and (ii) his or her motivation to comply with these referents. Research support for the importance of subjective norms in exercise intention has generally been insignificant among older and younger adults. (Courneya, Estabrooks & Nigg 1997) Unlike attitude, which tends to consistently account for approximately 30% of behavioral intention, social norms are rarely even significant and always account for a very small percentage towards the variance of exercise intentions. ...
Still, social norms tend to have greater impact on less educated members of a community, and further survey research is needed to assess the impact of social norms on the geriatric population. (Armitage 2005)
Both the TRA and the extended TPB identify behavioral intention as the central predictor of behavior. In cross-sectional research, significant associations were identified between intention and self-reported regular exercise (Sniehotta, Scholz & Schwarzer 2005) and pre-contemplation, contemplation and preparation stages of exercise behavior. Further, a 3-year longitudinal follow-up identified intention with significant discriminant ability between individuals who had maintained their exercise stage versus those who had relapsed. (Courneya, Estabrooks & Nigg 1997) However, the same study failed to discriminate those who did not change stages from those who moved to a latter stage.
Unfortunately, age differences in behavioral intention significantly differ between older and younger adults, (Stephens & Caspersen 1994) although not all research has found this association.
In general, exercise intention is a consistent predictor of behavior, with an average explained variance of 30%. The enormous percentage of both men and women that do not even intend to adopt exercise behavior is a serious concern, and must be considered a crucial factor to change using intervention strategies. (Sniehotta, Scholz & Schwarzer 2005)
The Tran-theoretical Model of Behavior Change (TM), a model developed to explain and describe smoking behavior, has been adapted relatively recently to the study of exercise adherence. (Prochaska & DiClemente 1983) The TM postulates that the process of behavior change occurs in the following stages: pre-contemplation, contemplation, preparation,