UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA
Postpartum is a specific event that often results in decreased physical activity (PA) for women; thereby placing this special population at increased risk for several chronic diseases and premature mortality. The existing research examining PA during postpartum is limited, however, with respect to the following 3 important factors: (a) cross-sectional assessments that do not capture the specific physical and psychological demands of early, middle, and late postpartum; (b) nonstandardized and unvalidated PA measures; and (c) nontheoretical studies of PA motivators and predictors. Before effective PA interventions are implemented with postpartum women, it is necessary to prospectively examine their PA beliefs and behaviors using standardized measures of PA behavior within a theoretical framework. This approach will provide the theoretical basis to implement PA interventions specific to the physical, environmental, and psychological demands of postpartum. The theory of planned behavior (TPB) is one of the most influential and successful theories for understanding and predicting PA intention and behavior, and will serve as the theoretical framework to prospectively determine the PA beliefs and behaviors for postpartum women. Our proposal?s Specific Aims and Hypotheses are:
Primary Aims and Hypotheses
A) To determine and examine the predictive ability of postpartum women?s TPB PA beliefs. We hypothesize that beliefs will predict postpartum women?s PA attitude, perceived behavioral control, and subjective norm at 6 weeks, 3 months, and 6 months postpartum.
B) To determine whether: (1) intention and perceived behavioral control predict postpartum PA; (2) attitude, perceived behavioral control, and subjective norm predict postpartum PA intention. We hypothesize that: (1) attitude, perceived behavioral control, and subjective norm will predict postpartum women?s PA intention; and (2) intention and perceived behavioral control will predict postpartum women?s PA behavior at 6 weeks, 3 months, and 6 months postpartum.
Secondary Aims and Hypotheses
A) To examine PA levels during postpartum. We hypothesize that PA (i.e., min of moderate-strenuous PA per week, energy expenditure, mean counts/min, and days/min of PA to meet current PA guidelines) will increase from 6 weeks to 3 months to 6 months postpartum, but will not return to prepregnancy PA levels.
B) To evaluate theory-based moderators of PA behaviors, as guided by the TPB. Due to the limited research examining theory-based moderators of PA during postpartum, we advance an exploratory hypothesis that demographic (e.g., age, body mass index, breastfeeding, ethnicity), quality of life, and environmental variables will moderate the TPB and PA relationship.