Document Type



Doctor of Philosophy



Date of Defense


Graduate Advisor

Dawn Lee Garzon PhD


Dawn Garzon

Donna Taliaferro

Carrie Braden

Cody Ding

Debbie Kiel


According to The International Agency for Cancer Research (IARC), 25% of worldwide breast cancer cases are due to having a sedentary lifestyle and being overweight or obese (2002). Unfortunately, less than 50% of women participate in physical activity as recommended by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the American College of Sports Medicine and more than 25% do not participate in any physical activity at all (CDC, 2005). Perceptions of increased personal risk and self-efficacy have been shown to promote exercise participation, and as such, are key elements of protection motivation theory, used as the theoretical framework to guide this study (Courneya & Hellsten, 2001; Dishman & Buckworth, 2001; Petro-Nustas, 2002; Rippetoe & Roger, 1987; Rogers, 1983). The purpose of this study was to determine whether risk and/or health information could motivate a woman to exercise and to explore the accuracy of a woman¿s perception of breast cancer risk in relationship to her Gail risk score. Women were blocked by Gail risk status into one of two groups, high risk (n = 46) or average risk (n = 50), and then randomly assigned to one of two treatments: control (general written health information) or experimental (specific written health information) to determine which treatment was more effective in motivating women (high risk versus average risk) to exercise. Pearson¿s chi-square test and analysis of variance were used to assess statistical differences between groups. Multiple regression analysis was used to understand the effects of the independent variables (actual risk, perceived risk, and self-efficacy) on the dependent variable (exercise behavior). Self-efficacy, but not Gail risk made a significant unique contribution to the prediction of exercise behavior, F(2, 80) = 7.15, p = .001. Self-efficacy alone correlated with exercise behavior, accounting for 15.0 % of the variance; perceived susceptibility did not predict exercise behavior or predict above and beyond Gail risk estimates. However, a positive correlation was found between Gail risk and perceived susceptibility. The current study provides support for the potential role of the health care provider in promoting physical activity by providing individuals with tailored instructions to achieve greater levels of self-efficacy.

OCLC Number


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Nursing Commons