Predictors of exercise relapse in individuals with cardiovascular disease



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This descriptive correlational study was conducted to prospectively examine possible predictors of exercise relapse in individuals with cardiovascular disease (CVD) at three months post completion of an outpatient cardiac rehabilitation program. Gender differences in exercise relapse were also explored. The Relapse Prevention Model was used to guide the study. Exercise logs were used to verify the maintenance or relapse of the participants’ exercise program. Instruments used to measure the predictive ability of concepts in the Relapse Prevention Model included the Self-efficacy and Exercise Habits Survey to measure exercise self-efficacy; the Ways of Coping Questionnaire to evaluate coping responses for high-risk situations for exercise; and the Self-Administered Seven-Day Physical Activity Recall to validate the information in the exercise logs kept by the study participants. The study sample (N = 62) consisted of 33 men and 29 women with documented cardiovascular disease that completed an outpatient cardiac rehabilitation program. The participants were primarily Caucasian, married, with at least one year of college. There was a significant difference (p<.05) between males and females in relation to exercise relapse. Approximately 45% of the women that participated in the study relapsed from their exercise program, compared to only 18% of the men sampled. Logistic regression was used to predict the probability of relapse from exercise in individuals with CVD at three months post completion of an outpatient cardiac rehabilitation program. Five predictor variables were used in the analysis (exercise self-efficacy, coping for high-risk situations for exercise, age, gender, and educational level). The overall predictive model was significant (Model Chi- Square=14.064, p= .029). However, none of the predictor variables were individually statistically significant. The overall rate of correct classification was 74.1%. Women and men identified similar reasons for relapse from an exercise program (health, time conflicts). In addition, women also identified household/domestic reasons for lapses. Continued research to explore predictors of exercise maintenance and relapse are needed to provide the basis for developing theoretically based gender-specific interventions to address the problem of high relapse rates in exercise regimens in individuals with CVD.