Task-value as a mediator for aerobic exercise adherence

Date of Completion

January 1995


Psychology, Social|Education, History of|Education, Physical




Research reveals that approximately 20% of the U.S. adult population engages in sufficient vigorous exercise to produce increases in cardiorespiratory fitness and maximum protection from chronic disease (Dishman, 1988; Pate et al., 1995; Sallis & Hovell, 1990; U.S. Public Health Department of 1991). A paramount need for the exercise practitioner is the ability to evaluate successfully the decision making processes guiding the individual choosing a sedentary lifestyle verses individuals involved in an active lifestyle. One of the predominate concerns of exercise psychology researchers is the identification of motivational factors underlying the decision by individuals to adhere to, or drop-out of, aerobic exercise programs. It was hypothesized that the individual's value structure is a key mediator regulating the level of importance assigned to this achievement behavior. An expectancy-value model for analyzing achievement-related task choices, with "values" as mediators, was developed by Eccles et al (1983). This study extended the Eccles' research by applying this expectancy-value model to aerobic exercise behavior and isolating task-value and levels of task-value (attainment, utility, incentive, cost) as predominate mediating factors for participation in aerobic exercise behavior. A sample of 470 students participating in aerobic exercise classes at a large metropolitan community college completed the Aerobic Exercise Task Value Questionnaire, which assessed task-value categories (orientations) for aerobic exercise. The students were monitored and recorded aerobic exercise behavior for fourteen weeks, with emphasis on intensity (60% maximum heart rate), number of times per week (2) and duration (55 minutes). A Multivariate Analysis was used to determine group differences (adherers, non-adherers and drop-outs) with respect to the four task-value components. A One-way Analysis of Variance was used to determine significant differences among the three groups with respect to total task-value score. The results of the MANOVA and ANOVA revealed no significant differences among the three exercise groups with respect to the four Task-Value Components (cost, utility, attainment and incentive) and total task-value score. However, the Eccles' expectancy-value model appears to be useful for examining aerobic exercise participation. Also, generally task-value was validated as a mediator of task choice. ^