Increasing pre, peri and postmenopausal women's activity levels
: a theory of planned behaviour approach to a behaviour change intervention

  • Julie Doherty

Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis


Background: Given that the menopause brings additional risk of non-communicable diseases preventable by undertaking physical activity, action is needed to increase the proportion women undertaking recommended levels of physical activity as they transition from pre- to post-menopause. The aim of this thesis was to develop and test the feasibility and acceptability of an intervention to promote recommended levels of physical activity among pre-, peri- and post-menopausal women using a two component model of the Theory of Planned Behaviour.

Methods: This study employed a mixed method multiphase research design and as such three phases of research guided by the Theory of Planned Behaviour were undertaken: (1) the cognitive processes underlying pre-, peri- and post-menopausal women’s decision to perform recommended levels of moderate physical activity and muscle strengthening activities were explored using qualitative methodology and analysed using thematic analysis; (2) significant predictors of intention and the relative importance of those predictors were explored using quantitative methodology. Descriptive statistics, bivariate correlations, regression analyses and analysis of variances; were used to analysis the data and: (3) a mixed methods study involving a randomised controlled trial and a qualitative evaluation was undertaken to determine the feasibility and acceptability of an intervention designed based on the findings from phase one and two. Descriptive statistics, independent samples T-Tests, mixed within and between subjects repeated measures analysis of variance were used to analysis the quantitative data, qualitative data was analysed using thematic analysis.

Results: Phase one: Attitudes toward undertaking moderate physical activity were positive across groups however, motivational differences were apparent. Attitudes vi towards undertaking muscle strengthening activities were negative and knowledge was identified as the main factor that influenced women’s attitudes and motivation towards undertaking this mode of physical activity. Phase two: The results showed that selfefficacy followed by affective attitude and descriptive norms were the main predictors of women’s intentions to undertake moderate physical activities. With regards to muscle strengthening activities, self-efficacy followed by affective attitudes were the main predictors of intention. No significant differences between groups were evident. However, belief based measures supported the findings from phase one illustrating slight differences across groups. Phase three: The results showed that the intervention was feasible and acceptable to pre- and post-menopausal women. However, the results indicated that the acceptability of the intervention could be improved by removing or altering the reward, monitoring of emotional consequences and practical social support elements of the intervention.

Conclusions: Overall, the findings from this thesis provide support for the feasibility and acceptability of an intervention based on the Theory of Planned Behaviour. However, the intervention should be refined and a larger scaled evaluation undertaken to determine the effectiveness of this intervention.
Date of AwardMay 2015
Original languageEnglish
SupervisorMelanie Giles (Supervisor), Liz Simpson (Supervisor) & Alison Gallagher (Supervisor)


  • Physical activity guidelines
  • Moderate physical activity
  • Muscle-strengthening activities
  • Ageing
  • Menopausal status

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