Buy this Article for $10.95

Have a coupon or promotional code? Enter it here:

When you buy this you'll get access to the ePub version, a downloadable PDF, and the ability to print the full article.


adherence, exercise, maintenance, midlife, walking



  1. Wilbur, JoEllen
  2. Vassalo, Annemarie
  3. Chandler, Peggy
  4. McDevitt, Judith
  5. Miller, Arlene Michaels


Background: Despite the many known benefits of physical activity, some women (27%) report no leisure-time physical activity in the prior month. Of those women who began an exercise program, the dropout rate was as high as 50% in the first 3-6 months. The challenge for researchers and clinicians is to identify those factors that influence not only adoption, but also maintenance, of physical activity.


Objective: The purpose of this study was (a) to describe midlife women's maintenance of walking following the intervention phase of a 24-week, home-based walking program, and (b) to identify the effects of background characteristics, self-efficacy for overcoming barriers to exercise, and adherence to walking during the intervention phase on retention and adherence to walking.


Methods: There were Black and White women participants (N = 90) aged 40-65 years who completed a 24-week, home-based walking program. Self-efficacy for overcoming barriers to exercise, maximal aerobic fitness, and percentage of body fat were measured at baseline, 24 weeks, and 48 weeks. Adherence was measured with heart-rate monitors and an exercise log.


Results: Retention was 80% during maintenance. On average, the women who reported walking during maintenance adhered to 64% of the expected walks during that phase. Examination of the total number of walks and the number and sequence of weeks without a walk revealed dynamic patterns. The multiple regression model explained 40% of the variance in adherence during the maintenance phase.


Discussion: These results suggest that both self-efficacy for overcoming barriers and adherence during the intervention phase play a role in women's walking adherence. The findings reflect dynamic patterns of adopting and maintaining new behavior.