Exercise behaviour change among a sample of Malay students living in northern England : an application of the transtheoretical model.
This programme of research was concerned with an examination of the exercise
behaviour change of a sample of Malay students living in five different cities in
Northern England (Bradford, Leeds, Manchester, Newcastle-upon-Tyne and Sheffield).
The research methods used were a cross-sectional study (Study 1), an in-depth
interview (Study 2) and a longitudinal study, divided into two parts - quantitative (Study
3A) and qualitative (Study 3B). These three studies were conducted in order to answer
four main Research Questions:
I. To what extent is Prochaska and DiClemente's (1983)Transtheoretical Model
usefuli n examiningt he exerciseb ehaviouro f the students?
A cross-sectional study (Study 1) was employed to answer the first research question.
The respondents (N = 123) were drawn from two annual meetings of the Malaysian
Students Societies at Leeds Metropolitan University and Leeds University. The results
showed that there was a relationship between the stages of change and the processes of
change, self-efficacy and decisional balance. On the basis of the findings of this initial
study (Study 1), two new contributions to the field of exercise behaviour were made: a
culture-specific exercise intervention programme was devised, and evidence was
provided that the Transtheoretical Model is a wholly suitable vehicle for explaining the
exercise behaviour of the students.
2. What factors influenced the exercise behaviour of the students?
To answer the second research question, Study 2 (an in-depth interview) was employed,
using 20 of the students from Study 1. Study 2 identified the factors that inhibit and
those that enhance exercise participation. The nine inhibiting factors were: time
constraints, attitude-related factors, lack of guidance, lack of exercise partner, lack of
interest, poor weather, lack of child-care facilities, unhealthy physical condition and
lack of experience. The five enhancing factors were: health and fitness, sociological
factors, psychological benefits, good facilities and a history of exercise. The study also
enabled the researcher to make three more contributions in the area of exercise
behaviour. These were: the discovery of the "Proselytizing" stage, the fact that the
Processes of Change Instrument fails to take into account "involuntary" factors and a
proposal for revising the Stages of Change Instrument.
3. Is there any identifiable pattern of change in their exercise behaviour, over a
period of time?
Study 3A, which employeda longitudinals tudy,o ver an eight-monthp eriodw as
able to provide an answer to the third research question. The respondents (N=110),
Malay students newly-arrived in England, were contacted through the Malaysian
Students' Societies in five different cities in Northern England (Bradford. Leeds.
Manchester, Newcastle-upon-Tyne and Sheffield). There were three data collection
during the eight-month period of investigation (baseline, follow-up and third data
collections). The results revealed that the processes of change scores increased in the
Adopters groups, decreased in the Relapsers group, and remained substantially the same
in the Stable Inactive and Stable Active groups. Study 3A highlighted the limitations of
the Processes of Change Instruments used in earlier studies and revealed that the
Marcus et al., (1996c) method of identifying Adopters and Relapsers was inadequate. It
also suggested that "Stable Preparers" group should be identified as an additional group,
apart from Stable Active and Stable Inactives groups.
4. What are the factors that caused the newly-arrived Malay students to relapse
from exercise the over four-month period?
Thirty students who were found to have relapsed, in the follow-up data
collection (Study 3A) were invited to participate in this study. Of the thirty students,
nineteen agreed to participate in the qualitative, longitudinal study. Study 3B revealed
that weather conditions, lack of time and lack of exercise partner were among the most
prominent reasons why recently-arrived students relapsed from exercising.
Furthermore, the study also demonstrated that cultural and religious differences
contributed to their relapse from exercise. Recommendations for future research, in this
area also, are advanced.