Cancer prevention as a source of exercise motivation: An experimental test using protection motivation theory

  • Courneya K
  • Hellsten L
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Examined if cancer prevention is a meaningful source of exercise motivation using protection motivation theory (PMT). Ss were 427 college students (mean age 19.7 yrs) who were assigned to read 1 of 16 persuasive communications that independently manipulated (high vs low conditions) perceived vulnerability, perceived severity (PS), response efficacy (RE), and self-efficacy. Ss were then asked to complete a questionnaire assessing the relationships of those variables to protection motivation. The results show a significant main effect for PS and a significant interaction between PS and RE. The interaction was such that Ss who were led to believe that colon cancer was a severe disease (high PS) were more motivated to exercise if they also believed that exercise was effective (high RE) in reducing their risk of colon cancer. Conversely, Ss led to believe that colon cancer was not a very severe disease (low PS) were not differentially motivated to exercise based on their RE beliefs. These findings suggest that cancer prevention may be a meaningful source of exercise motivation. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)

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