Application of the Transtheoretical Model of Behavior Change to the Physical Activity Behavior of WIC Mothers

Nancy L. Fahrenwald, Susan Noble Walker

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

88 Scopus citations


This descriptive-correlational study examined the Transtheoretical Model (TTM) of behavior change in relationship to the physical activity behavior of mothers receiving assistance from the Women, Infants, and Children program. A purposive sample (N = 30) of six women at each of the five stages of readiness for behavior change was used. Relationships between stage of behavior change (measured using the Stage of Exercise Adoption tool) and other TTM constructs were examined. The constructs and corresponding instruments included physical activity behavior (Seven-Day Physical Activity Recall), pros, cons, decisional balance (Exercise Benefits/Barriers Scale and two open-ended questions), self-efficacy (Self-efficacy for Exercise scale), and processes of behavior change (Processes of Exercise Adoption tool and the Social Support for Exercise scale). Significant relationships were found between stage of behavior change and two physical activity energy expenditure indices (rs = 0.71-0.73, p < 0.01), daily minutes of moderate to very hard physical activity (r s = 0.81, p < 0.01), pros (rs = 0.56, p < 0.01), cons (r s = -0.52, p < 0.05), decisional balance (rs = 0.56, p < 0.01), and self-efficacy (rs = 0.56, p < 0.01). Use of the 10 processes of change differed by stage of change. Pros to physical activity included a sense of accomplishment, increased strength, stress relief, and getting in shape after pregnancy. Cons included fatigue, childcare, and cold weather. Results support the TTM as relevant to WIC mothers and suggest strategies to increase physical activity in this population.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)307-317
Number of pages11
JournalPublic Health Nursing
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jul 2003

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Nursing(all)
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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