Theoretical Approaches to Exercise Promotion

David M. Williams and Bess H. Marcus

in The Oxford Handbook of Exercise Psychology

Published in print May 2012 | ISBN: 9780195394313
Published online September 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Library of Psychology

Theoretical Approaches to Exercise Promotion

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  • Psychology
  • Health Psychology
  • Clinical Psychology



In the field of exercise promotion, theory provides a bridge between basic behavioral science and applied intervention research. This chapter reviews theories of exercise promotion. The theories most often used in exercise promotion emphasize cognitive factors and are grounded in expectancy-value formulations. Some newer theoretical approaches also emphasize environmental or affective processes. To advance the science of behavior change, further expansion of theory is needed, as well as continued testing and refinement of existing theory. Such advances can only be accomplished through the interplay between basic and applied research. More funding is needed to support the continuation of quality basic research. Applied research must emphasize theoretical fidelity and the translation of core scientific principles into corresponding behavior change tactics in diverse contexts and populations.

Keywords: theory-related terminology; basic and applied research; affective processes; ecological framework; theoretical fidelity

Article.  7848 words. 

Subjects: Psychology ; Health Psychology ; Clinical Psychology

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