Date on Master's Thesis/Doctoral Dissertation


Document Type

Doctoral Dissertation

Degree Name

Ph. D.


Psychological and Brain Sciences

Committee Chair

Stetson, Barbara A.

Author's Keywords

Physical activity; Coping; Mindfulness; Abstinence Violation Effect; Relapse Prevention Model; Exercise


Exercise--Psychological aspects


The importance of physical activity in preventing disease and promoting health is increasingly evident in health outcomes research. Although most adults in the U.S. have initiated exercise programs at some point in their lives, research suggests that they have difficulty maintaining beneficial levels of physical activity and exercise. With escalating rates of obesity and physical inactivity, the importance of understanding processes by which individuals engage in and maintain physical activity cannot be understated. The Relapse Prevention Model (RPM), developed for use with addiction, has been successfully used to explore factors associated with exercise drop-out, or "exercise relapse". In the current study, relationships between constructs of the RPM were examined and the role of mindfulness in moderating these relationships was evaluated using retrospective recall of exercise. In this cross-sectional study, static constructs were used as proxies for the situationally defined constructs of the RPM and the sequelae of high-risk situations for exercise lapse. Mindfulness was predicted to moderate the relationships between vulnerability to relapse and coping response, and between slip frequency and the Abstinence Violation Effect (AVE) in lapsers, such that individuals who were higher in mindfulness would endorse more effective coping strategies and lower AVE. The findings of this study suggest that mindfulness may be associated with better exercise outcomes, that less mindful community exercisers may use certain ineffective coping strategies more often, and that mindfulness may buffer the relationship between missed exercise sessions and the AVE. Future research on the role of mindfulness in exercise is recommended using prospective assessment methodologies and longitudinal design.