ADJUSTMENT TO EXERCISE LAPSES: RELATIONSHIPS BETWEEN PROBLEM-SOLVING AND SOCIAL COGNITIONS ABOUT ADHERENCE
Regular exercise is challenging and lapses in activity may lead to non-adherence. Adherence may be particularly challenging for symptomatic individuals with disease-related symptoms that may impede exercise. The combined use of cognitive-behavioural strategies including problem-solving has been strongly encouraged for promoting exercise adherence. However, evidence supporting the link between the use of the independent strategy of problem-solving and exercise adherence is limited. The overall purpose of this dissertation was to examine problem-solving relative to exercise-lapse related problems. Using two theoretical frameworks that offer insight into problem-solving (Model of Social Problem-Solving and Social Cognitive Theory), three studies were conducted to examine proposed relationships in various asymptomatic and symptomatic exercising samples. In Study 1A, relationships between self-regulatory efficacy (SRE) for exercise and problem-solving approach (task-diagnostic and self-diagnostic) were explored in a sample of exercising university students (n = 79). Results indicated that SRE beliefs were significantly and (1) positively related to task-diagnostic problem-solving approach and (2) negatively related to self-diagnostic problem-solving approach. In Study 1B, relationships between problem-solving effectiveness and exercise-related social cognitions were examined in the same sample. Findings demonstrated that problem-solving effectiveness was positively associated with social cognitive correlates of exercise adherence linked to adaptation. Relationships demonstrated in Study 1 provide preliminary support for previously unexamined problem-solving research questions relative to exercise. In Study 2, relationships between problem-solving effectiveness and exercise-related social cognitions (self-efficacy and persistence) were examined in a sample of exercising cardiac rehabilitation initiates (n = 52). These relationships were considered relative to two distinct components of the problem-solving process (seeking solutions to problems and carrying out solutions), which have not previously been examined relative to exercise lapses. Findings indicated significant relationships between problem-solving effectiveness and (a) self-efficacy for problem-solving (seeking solutions to problems), (b) persistence with problem-solving, (c) self-efficacy for solution implementation (carrying out solutions) and (d) persistence with solution implementation. In Study 3, problem-solving was examined among exercising cancer survivors (n = 35) with cancer-related fatigue, a problematic exercise barrier. Partial support was demonstrated for differences between more and less effective problem-solvers on fatigue-related variables. An under-examined area in problem-solving research was also examined in this study; the relationship between problem-solving and positive psychological functioning. Findings indicated significant differences for positive psychological functioning between individuals with higher and lower positive problem orientation. Taken together, the three studies represent an initial attempt to advance exercise and problem-solving literature by illustrating important theoretical relationships in three samples of exercisers, and addressing important gaps in the exercise and problem-solving literature. In regard to the latter point, the research was the first to examine (a) variables that may link problem-solving to exercise adherence, (b) two distinct components of the problem-solving process relative to an exercise lapse situation, and (c) potential links between problem-solving and selected positive psychological outcomes. Future research directions relative to problem-solving and exercise are suggested as possible next steps to advance this preliminary research.
DegreeDoctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)
SupervisorBrawley, Lawrence R.
CommitteeSpink, Kevin S.; Gyurcsik, Nancy C.; Hellsten, Laurie-ann M.; Elliott, Timothy R.
Copyright DateJanuary 2013