COMPARATIVE STUDY
JOURNAL ARTICLE

Psychosocial correlates of physical activity in white and African-American girls

Stewart G Trost, Russell R Pate, Marsha Dowda, Dianne S Ward, Gwen Felton, Ruth Saunders
Journal of Adolescent Health 2002, 31 (3): 226-33
12225734

PURPOSE: To evaluate the relative utility of the Theory of Reasoned Action (TRA) and the Theory of Planned Behavior (TPB) in explaining intentions and physical activity behavior in white and African-American eighth-grade girls.

METHODS: One-thousand-thirty white and 1.114 African-American eighth-grade girls (mean age 13.6 +/- 0.7 years) from 31 middle schools in South Carolina completed a 3-day physical activity recall and a questionnaire assessing attitudes, subjective norms, perceived behavioral control, self-efficacy, and intentions related to regular participation in moderate-to-vigorous physical activity (MVPA).

RESULTS: Among Whites, 17% of the variance in intentions was contributed by subjective norms and attitude, with intentions accounting for 8% of the variance in MVPA. The addition of perceived behavioral control and self-efficacy to the TRA significantly improved the prediction of intentions and MVPA accounting for 40% and 10% of the variance, respectively. Among African-Americans, subjective norms and attitude accounted for 13% of the variance in intentions, with intentions accounting for only 3% of the variance in MVPA. The addition of perceived behavioral control and self-efficacy to the TRA significantly improved the prediction of intentions and MVPA accounting for 28% and 5% of the variance, respectively.

CONCLUSIONS: The results provided limited empirical support for the TPB among white adolescent girls; however, our findings suggest that the planned behavior framework has limited utility among African-American adolescent girls. The relatively weak link between intentions and MVPA observed in both population groups suggest that constructs external to the TPB may be more important mediators of physical activity behavior in adolescent girls.

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