(Re)Viewing myself : exploring exercise participation in middle-aged adults
Research into the determinants of exercise behaviour and behaviour change is moving towards more integrated models to expand our understanding of issues such as why some adults start to exercise and others do not, and why some relapse from exercise. Accordingly, this thesis takes an exploratory, realist and constructivist approach to develop such an understanding of the processes that influence middle-aged adults (non)participation in exercise. A further intention of the thesis is to reiterate and demonstrate previous calls for alternative methods of writing by employing a confessional tale in parallel with the main text which IS used to highlight and make transparent to the reader those decisions made throughout the research process which are not always shared with them, but which are important. A Straussian interpretation of Grounded Theory methodology was adopted to analyse data from 24 focus groups and 11 individualmterviews with 81 participants aged mainly between 45 and 55 years. Findings identified a '(re)viewing myself process that explains exercise (non)partlcipation in terms of the concept of 'self-assessment', which establishes the difference between 'who I am' and 'who I want to be'. A disparity between these may result in an identity conflict and possible resolution strategies such as change of self and/or others. In accordance with movements in the research methodology literature towards theory integration, this process was also related to existing theories on identity conflict and change, and subsequent hypotheses on the relationship between identity change and behaviour change are suggested. The behavioural outcomes of the '(re )viewing myself process led to the creation of the 'ExerCise Cube', which categorises individuals according to their exercise perceptions, desires and behaviours. Each aXIs on the cube representing a continuum, thus a different set of barriers, motivators and attitudes that require different mterventions if movement across the cube to a more active identity is to be achieved. The theoretical and practical implications from this research provide a useful conceptual tool that can be used practically to inform future interventions that can be tailored to participants' individual needs. The findings support the contmued use of more integrated interdisciplinary models and theories in exercise determinants research.