Relationships among psychosocial correlates and stages of change in a German-Chinese sample

Helmut Strobl, University Bayreuth
Yanping Duan, Hong Kong Baptist University
Susanne Tittlbach, University Bayreuth
Walter Brehm, University Bayreuth


Promoting Health Enhancing Physical Activity (HEPA) behavior is an important undertaking in Germany as well as in China. In order to create successful interventions in different nations, knowledge about the relevant psychosocial correlates that may encourage successful progression through the behavior change process is necessary. Therefore, the relationships of selected psychosocial correlates of physical activity with stages of change were examined in a German-Chinese sample. In total, 2071 adults (865 Germans, 1206 Chinese) completed a questionnaire. The theoretical framework used was the FIT-model, which consists of the following stages of change: not considering, considering, preparing, exploring, fluctuating and maintaining. All data were analyzed with a two-way ANOVA. Significant main effects for the stages of change on all psychosocial correlates were found. Significant interactions between stages and nations emerged for all correlates except for social support, although these results revealed small effect sizes. To progress within the stages of inactivity, interventions should focus on outcome expectations, barriers, social support and affective attitudes. The successful initiation of physical activity depends on considerations of barriers, maintenance self-efficacy, intrinsic motivation and affective attitudes. These same correlates plus social support are relevant for long-term adherence to physical activity. In Germany, perceived barriers and emotional aspects of physical activity appear to be important for initiating and maintaining regular physical activity. Furthermore, for long-term adherence to physical activity, Germans—in contrast to Chinese adults—may not necessarily benefit from social support; however they could benefit from learning how to strengthen their physical activity outcome expectations.