Back to the Future: The Role of Possible Selves in Developing a Physical Activity Identity in Newly Retired Individuals

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Title: Back to the Future: The Role of Possible Selves in Developing a Physical Activity Identity in Newly Retired Individuals
Authors: Perras, Mélanie G.M.
Date: 2016
Abstract: Retirement affords retirees increased time for participation in salutary activities like physical activity. Yet, evidence is mixed as to whether or not retirees use this time to increase their participation in physical activity. Greater knowledge of the factors affecting physical activity participation in retirement is needed. Retirement is also a life transition ripe with opportunity to redefine one's identity and place greater attention on health-enhancing behaviours. Thereupon, this dissertation was rooted in the self literature, as self perceptions such as identity and possible selves may be particularly relevant for understanding physical activity in retired individuals. As a result, the first aim of this dissertation sought to confirm, in a preliminary study (Study 1), the relationship between possible selves, physical activity identity and physical activity in retirees. Through questionnaire data collected concurrently, Study 1 showed that identity and possible selves were related to physical activity (Article 1). Moreover, positive associations were found between possible selves focused on physical activity and physical activity identity. Subsequently, the relationships between these variables were further probed to determine whether exercise identity mediated the relationship between physical activity possible selves and physical activity (Article 2). Questionnaire data collected across three time points (one month apart) showed that identity mediated the relationship between possible selves and behaviour - all related to physical activity. Together, these findings represented an important first step toward designing a relevant intervention for retirees which informed the second aim of this dissertation (Study 2). A possible selves intervention designed to increase physical activity identity and physical activity was tested (Article 3). Changes in these variables were compared across three groups of an experimental design: a repeated possible selves intervention, a one-time possible selves intervention, and a control group. All groups reported marginally higher levels of physical activity and physical activity identity, inconsequential to group assignment. Overall, the present dissertation makes contributions to the self literature especially with regards to new retirees. Nevertheless, limitations are acknowledged and discussed. Finally, future research avenues are presented.
URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10393/34795
http://dx.doi.org/10.20381/ruor-892
CollectionThèses, 2011 - // Theses, 2011 -
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