How New Years’ Resolutions Stick: The Development of an Exercise Schema Measure
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Sedentary behavior is widespread in America and contributes to a plethora of health complications. While exercise initiation is routinely successful through intervention, dropout is common and long-term maintenance is rare. Exercise maintenance proves to be a complex behavior. Previous models of exercise focus mainly on initiation, without adequate consideration of the factors that shape long-term maintenance. We present an integrated, stage model of exercise maintenance that includes variables associated with exercise initiation as well as other social cognitive factors not previously incorporated. The central constructs of intrinsic motivation and exercise schema provide a testable, heuristic model of exercise maintenance. This paper outlines the methods proposed to develop and validate an instrument, the Fingerhut Physical Activity Schema Scale (FPASS), to assess exercise schema. Our measure was comprised of 51-items tapping into three distinct dimensions of schema, that of the “actual-self schema,” the “ought-self schema,” and the “ideal-self schema.” We used factor analysis and theoretical underpinnings to guide subscale development. Our subscales exhibited solid psychometric properties. Cronbach’s alphas ranged from 0.82 to 0.93. Construct and predictive validity of FPASS was assessed by examining the relationships of FPASS with related and unrelated constructs, as well as how well it predicted exercise behavior.