Access Type

Open Access Dissertation

Date of Award

January 2012

Degree Type


Degree Name




First Advisor

Antonia Abbey


The national rate of physical activity has been consistently declining while obesity and obesity-related illnesses are on the rise (French, Story, & Jeffrey, 2001; James, Leach, Kalamara, & Shayeghi, 2001; Malnick & Knobler, 2006). The current study employed a 2 (severity) x 2 (susceptibility) x 2 (intention implementation plan) x 3 (time) longitudinal within subject design examining the effects of the Protection Motivation Theory (Rogers, 1975, 1983) on the physical activity among 87 overweight young adult college females. A main effect was hypothesized for short-term severity, personal susceptibility, and the development of an intention implementation plan messages and an interaction effect was anticipated for messages containing group susceptibility and severity messages. It was also hypothesized that African American and Hispanic females receiving short-term severity messages would feel decreased severity, fear and protection motivation at Time 1 and 2, and would report having engaged in less physical activity when compared to white females at Time 2 and 3. Although the data did not support any of the hypotheses of this study, there was a significant effect of Time on physical activity, F (1, 79) = 3.45, p = .03, partial Þ² = .04, at Time 3, and there was a significant interaction effect of Time x Intention Implementation Plan on Protection Motivation at Time 2, F (1, 79) = 5.19, p = .03, partial Þ ² = .06. Given that the intervention used in this study was mild, these results provide useful directions for the development of stronger interventions in future research.