Extending the Theory of Planned Behavior in the exercise domain: A study of community college students in an urban multicultural setting

Marilyn Smith Gordon, Florida International University


The purpose of this study was to assess the intention to exercise among ethnically and racially diverse community college students using the Theory of Planned Behavior (TPB). In addition to identifying the variables associated with motivation or intention of college students to engage in physical activity, this study tested the model of the Theory of Planned Behavior, asking: Does the TPB model explain intention to exercise among a racially/ethnically diverse group of college students? The relevant variables were the TPB constructs (behavioral beliefs, normative beliefs, and control beliefs), which combined to form a measure of intention to exercise. Structural Equation Modeling was used to test the predictive power of the TPB constructs for predicting intention to exercise. Following procedures described by Ajzen (2002), the researcher developed a questionnaire encompassing the external variables of student demographics (age, gender, work status, student status, socio-economic status, access to exercise facilities, and past behavior), major constructs of the TPB, and two questions from the Godin Leisure Time Questionnaire (GLTQ; Godin & Shephard, 1985). Participants were students (N = 255) who enrolled in an on-campus wellness course at an urban community college. The demographic profile of the sample revealed a racially/ethnically diverse study population. The original model that was used to reflect the TPB as developed by Ajzen was not supported by the data analyzed using SEM; however, a revised model that the researcher thought was theoretically a more accurate reflection of the causal relations between the TPB constructs was supported. The GLTQ questions were problematic for some students; those data could not be used in the modeling efforts. The GLTQ measure, however, revealed a significant correlation with intention to exercise (r = .27, p = .001). Post-hoc comparisons revealed significant differences in normative beliefs and attitude toward exercising behavior between Black students and Hispanic students. Compared to Black students, Hispanic students were more likely to (a) perceive “friends” as approving of them being physically active and (b) rate being physically active for 30 minutes per day as “beneficial”. No statistically significant difference was found among groups on overall intention to exercise.

Subject Area

Community college education|Bilingual education|Health education|Behavioral psychology|Higher education

Recommended Citation

Gordon, Marilyn Smith, "Extending the Theory of Planned Behavior in the exercise domain: A study of community college students in an urban multicultural setting" (2008). ProQuest ETD Collection for FIU. AAI3358434.