Date of Graduation

Spring 2015

Document Type

Honors Research Project

Degree Name

Bachelor of Science


Exercise Science - PrePhysical Therapy

Research Sponsor

Dr. Judith Juvancic-Heltzel

First Reader

Melissa Smith

Second Reader

Rachele Kappler


Physical activity has been shown to improve cognition, functional and overall health indicators across the lifespan. Older adults are less likely to participate in physical activity due to barriers and risk related factors. Additionally, lower income, underserved populations experience added barriers as well. Interventions addressing negative health behaviors in these populations have rarely been implemented. PURPOSE: Using the Self-Determination Theory (SDT) behavior change theory, the purpose of this study was to determine if five, monthly educational and exercise classes targeting these populations will improve motivation levels and result in facilitating increases in physical activity levels. METHODS: Two validated SDT surveys were completed upon the first month’s visit. Through the following months, group exercises and educational materials were prepared according to a monthly theme. Three different locations received the two hour interventions each month for four months. During the last month’s meeting, the same surveys were completed and used to compare the pre and post measurements of the participants. RESULTS: The results of the study suggested that the Wellness Wednesday program is effective for individuals in increasing motivation levels. Paired sample t-tests revealed a non-significant change in amotivation levels (p=0.06) and a significant increase in intrinsic motivation levels (p=0.04) for the BREQ-2 survey. Paired sample t-tests revealed a significant decrease in amotivation levels (p=0.01) and a non-significant increase in intrinsic motivation levels (p=0.13) according to the SIMS survey. CONCLUSION: Results of this study will be used to re-evaluate the Wellness Wednesday program and adjust strategies to enable continued participant engagement and adherence to recommended physical activity guidelines.