Award Date


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Curriculum and Instruction

First Committee Member

Thomas Bean

Number of Pages



Currently, many Americans spend extended periods of time in sedentary activities, potentially contributing to a variety of health concerns such as obesity and the onset of many chronic diseases. Given this widespread societal challenge, and using intact university undergraduates as a study sample, this dissertation research first provided descriptive information concerning psychological characteristics of physical appearance self-efficacy and goal orientation as potentially correlated with exercise adherence behavior. A second purpose of this research examined how known effective behavior analytic interventions of instructor-set goals/modeling, public posting, and peer-feedback might affect the research sample's exercise adherence behavior, and might affect linked psychological determinants of self-efficacy and goal orientation. The dissertation research was conducted in a modern, well-equipped exercise and fitness facility located at a metropolitan Midwest university, using three introductory structured exercise and fitness classes of with a total of 51 participants across the three experimental classes. Two university physical activity classes were exposed to a simple repeated measures reversal design (ABACADA and ABADACA) across classes and across participants to determine the relative effectiveness of three instructional strategies (i.e., instructor-set goals, public posting, peer-feedback) on increasing exercise adherence, changing physical appearance self-efficacy levels, and alterations in primary achievement goal orientation. The third intact physical activity class was used as a control comparison group and only received the instructor-set goals/modeling intervention. Adherence measures included class attendance and the amount of active participation during class time (i.e., number of sets completed per exercise session). Psychological measures were gathered using respective Self Efficacy Scale for Physical Appearance (SEPA) and Achievement Goal Orientation Scale for Physical Activity survey instruments. Results of Study I indicated that the correlation data among physical appearance self-efficacy, goal orientation, and exercise participation were not statistically significant (p<.05). The findings of the behavior analyses contained in Study II showed that public posting and peer-feedback were effective in reducing absenteeism and increasing participant effort levels. However, the public posting treatment was found to be generally superior to the peer-feedback treatment. Interestingly, the goal-setting treatment did not significantly influence class attendance or participant effort levels compared to the other treatments, though this pedagogical method is most widespread in contemporary settings of the type this dissertation research used. Implications are last provided in recommending additional study of the as yet unknown functionally related variables that may impact in important ways the tendency to participate and adhere to structured exercise regimens.


Achievement; Achievement Goal Orientations; Active; Adherence; Adults; Analysis; Efficacy; Exercise; Fitness; Goal; Intervention; Moderately; Motivation; Orientations; Sedentary; Self; Self-efficacy; Structured; Structured Fitness Motivation Intervention; Sedentary

Controlled Subject

Curriculum planning; Health education; Physical education and training; Adult education

File Format


File Size

2744.32 KB

Degree Grantor

University of Nevada, Las Vegas




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