Online Program

Exercise preferences, motivation and intentions of women in a substance abuse program

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Christine Hsieh, Department of Kinesiology and Nutritional Sciences, California State University, Los Angeles, Los Angeles, CA
The benefits of exercise as an adjunct treatment for substance abuse are well documented.  Exercise can optimize physical, emotional, and cognitive function, and decrease relapse.  The significance of these outcomes to recovery has prompted research that explores the role of exercise in rehabilitation settings. These include ascertaining the exercise preferences of patients entering treatment, but very few studies examine this dynamic uniquely to women in treatment.

The purpose of this study was to extend the literature on exercise as adjunct treatment within rehabilitation settings by exploring the exercise preferences and motivations of women who regularly participated in an exercise program as part of their rehabilitation process. Female participants (n=29) enrolled in a 13-month inpatient program consisting of weekly exercise sessions responded to open-ended questions at the conclusion of each session for 15 weeks. The questions focused on exercise preference, enjoyment, motivation and adherence. Standard qualitative data reduction and analysis strategies were used to determine the findings.   

A vast majority of participants (93%) found exercise to be enjoyable, and the exercises they most preferred were dance (34%) (“fun” and “pushed them to exercise”), and stress management exercises including yoga and tai-chi (31%) (“relaxing” and “helped with anxiety”). Factors that enabled enjoyment were music (45%) (“motivating” and “energizing”) and social interaction (28%) (“fun” and “enjoyable when everyone participates”).  The exercise motivation factors most frequently cited were weight loss (55%), aesthetics (48%) and health (34%). Over half of the participants (52%) indicated intention to continue exercise on their own time.

These findings are discussed in the context of understanding the perspective of women in respect to exercise preference and motivation despite a broad range of research focusing solely on traditional forms of exercise. The results of this study suggest that women have unique preferences and motivations for exercising and their specific exercise interests should be considered in the design of exercise as adjunct treatment in traditional health practices in rehabilitation programs.

Learning Areas:

Implementation of health education strategies, interventions and programs
Other professions or practice related to public health
Planning of health education strategies, interventions, and programs
Program planning

Learning Objectives:
Identify exercise preferences, motivations and intentions of women in a substance abuse program

Keyword(s): Drug Abuse Treatment, Physical Activity

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am the co-investigator on a research study of women in a substance treatment program. My academic focus has been on the development of community physical activity programs.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.