University of Jyväskylä

Dissertation: 15.12.2017 Awaking the motivation for change - Relationships between physical fitness, physical activity and psychosocial factors among men in the Adventures of Joe Finn Campaign (Kaasalainen)

Start date: Dec 15, 2017 12:00 PM

End date: Dec 15, 2017 03:00 PM

Location: Seminaarinmäki, RUU D104 (Helena)

Karoliina Kaasalainen
M.Sc. Karoliina Kaasalainen defends her doctoral dissertation in Health Education ”Awaking the motivation for change - Relationships between physical fitness, physical activity and psychosocial factors among men in the Adventures of Joe Finn Campaign”. Opponent Adjunct Professor Katja Borodulin (National Institute for Health and Welfare, University of Helsinki) and custos Professor Marita Poskiparta (University of Jyväskylä). The doctoral dissertation is held in Finnish.



This thesis examined how physical fitness is associated with self-reported physical activity (PA), eating habits and psychosocial factors among Finnish men who engaged in the Adventures of Joe Finn Campaign. The thesis comprises four original publications and supplementary results. The research framework utilizes the Health Action Process Approach (HAPA) and principles of social marketing. HAPA guides the explanation of health behaviors at the individual level within the wider framework of social marketing, which links the individual-level effects with the campaign.  Data were collected during the Adventures of Joe Finn Campaign tour in 2011 and by a post-campaign e-mail survey in 2014. Physical fitness was estimated with a body fitness index (BFI) based on the Inbody 720, Polar OwnIndex test and a hand grip test. Self-reported PA, phase of PA change (intention/action) and psychosocial factors were elicited by questionnaire. Of the 900 baseline participants (Mage=43.9, SD=12.7), 19 % had low and 42 % moderate BFI. For further analyses, 361 of these men were assigned to a “need-for-change” group on the basis of a low or moderate BFI, body mass index (BMI)>25 kg/m2) and indications of abdominal obesity. In 2014, 102 of these men completed a follow-up questionnaire and 41 men in the “need-for change” group underwent a second BFI test. When compared against their BFI, 63% of the low-fit participants overestimated their fitness. Low self-efficacy, self-regulatory skills, lack of goals and lower social support differentiated this group from their high-fit counterparts. Based on the fitness test, 40 % of the men needed to change their health behaviors. The post-campaign study revealed that, in this group, while the proportion of the least active men decreased, the median activity level did not change. Men who reported positive changes in PA had higher PA goals at baseline and they expressed stronger autonomous promoters for PA than those who remained at the low PA level.  The results suggest that low-fit men need stronger self-efficacy and support for skill development. Individual counseling after a fitness test, easy access to PA groups or regular self-monitoring and feedback may be appropriate additional interventions for this group.

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Karoliina Kaasalainen
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