Predictors of the Stages of Physical Activity Change Among Older Adults with Peripheral Neuropathy

Maria Kosma, Rebecca Ellis, and Li Li


Although the benefits of regular physical activity (PA) participation are well documented, 55% of adults with physical disabilities are completely inactive compared with 37% of adults without disabilities (USDHHS, 2000). The importance of determining PA motivational factors through the use of the transtheoretical model (TTM) among individuals with disabilities has been recognized (Kosma et al., 2006). Therefore the first study purpose was to investigate the relations between the stages of PA change (SOC; PA intention and behavior) and the TTM constructs among 74 older adults with peripheral neuropathy (Mean age = 68.1 years, 67.6% females). The second study purpose was to identify the most important TTM predictors of the SOC. Standardized self-report scales were used to assess the TTM constructs. The MANOVA supported the hypothesized relations between the TTM constructs and SOC. Specifically, the processes of change, self-efficacy, and perceived pros increased across the SOC. The direct discriminant function analysis showed that the most important predictors of the SOC were the behavioral processes (r = .82), self-efficacy (r = .52), and the cognitive processes (r = .46). The most accurately predicted SOC were the action/maintenance (91.7%), precontemplation (50%), contemplation (47.4%), and preparation (36.4%). The overall classification accuracy across the SOC was 67.6%. This is the first study to examine the full TTM for PA among older adults with peripheral neuropathy. Health promoters need to implement stage-matched PA motivational programs by using such TTM-based strategies as identification of accessible PA facilities, goal setting, social support, and reinforcement of successful activity experiences.