Steps to and correlates of health-enhancing physical activity in adulthood: An intercultural study between German and Chinese individuals

Yanping Duan*, Walter Brehm, Helmut Strobl, Susanne Tittlbach, Zhijian Huang, Gangyan Si

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

12 Citations (Scopus)


Health-enhancing physical activity (HEPA) is a primary resource for improving physiological and psychosocial health. Stage models in the HEPA promotion area should fulfill three functions: description, intervention, and diagnosis. However, these functions have received insufficient attention, and research using an intercultural study paradigm has been rather scarce on this topic. The purpose of this study was to examine the three functions of a stage model by addressing the steps and correlates of HEPA behavior change process among adult samples from Germany and China. The 2071 adults (42% German and 58% Chinese), who were aged 27-55 years, completed self-administered questionnaires that assessed the quantity, intensity, and type of physical activity (PA) and assessed the stage of change. The following were also measured: five health correlates (i.e., fitness, physical complaints, body mass index, health satisfaction, and subjective well-being) and 10 psychosocial correlates (i.e., outcome expectations, affective attitude, barriers, self-efficacy, body concept, plans, intrinsic motivation, assessment of activity situation, activity emotions, and social support). The PA stages were significantly and positively correlated with the weekly energy consumption. In the health correlates and stages of change, all five health correlates significantly differed between the stages. In the psychosocial correlates and the stages of change, nine of 10 psychosocial correlates (with the exception of assessment of activity situation) significantly discriminated between the stages of change. In particular, nationality, gender, and education level are moderating factors for the characteristics of most health correlates across all stages of change. In addition, nationality, gender, and age moderated the relationship between the stage of change and some psychosocial correlates. The findings generally support the utility of a stage model for understanding German and Chinese adult HEPA behavior.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)63-77
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Exercise Science and Fitness
Issue number2
Early online date1 Nov 2013
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2013

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health

User-Defined Keywords

  • Health correlates
  • Psychosocial correlates
  • Sedentary behavior
  • Stages of change


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