Date of Award


Level of Access Assigned by Author

Open-Access Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Kinesiology and Physical Education


Robert Lehnhard

Second Committee Member

Phil Pratt

Third Committee Member

Stephen Butterfield


Experts agree that habitual exercise is beneficial to health and essential in the primary prevention of coronary heart disease and its associated risk factors. Despite this knowledge, adherence to an regular exercise regimen remains the major problem in the health and fitness industry. Reports estimate greater than 70% of the adult population in the United States do not participate regularly in physical activity. In contrast to the commercial fitness world where membership and profit continue to be the primary directives of the industry, corporate fitness programs are concerned with recruitment and adherence and consistently and exponentially increasing participation to justify cost. Previous research supports the idea of incentive programs to boost recruitment and participation, however the relationship between fitness-based incentive programs and adherence in the corporate setting, must be solidified as statistically significant if owners and corporate shareholders are going to h d such programs. The purpose of this study was to determine the impact of specific incentive programs by monitoring the exercise adherence of employees and their spouses prior to an incentive program, during the incentive and following the incentive. A total of one hundred and ninety-two men and women, 2 1-67 years of age, participated in this investigation. Each subject was a self-selected patron of the fitness facility, and also self-selected to participate in one or more of the four fitness-based incentive programs that were conducted over the course of two years. All participants were given a specific exercise regimen and asked to track their daily progress. The three mean values (pre, during, post) for each incentive program were analyzed using an analysis of variance for repeated measures. Significant differences were found in the number of visits (adherence) to the fitness center in three out of the four cases studied. The significance ranged from .000 to .006. A post hoc analysis of the .data was performed using the calculation of Partial ETA Squared for the effect of time on the results. These results indicate that although the passage of time was statistically significant from the pre-incentive period to the during incentive period, as illustrated by the analysis of variance for repeated measures, the partial ETA squared comparison determined just how important the significance was. In three out of the four comparisons we had a significant main effect for time in the repeated measures test, however not much of the total variance can be explained by the main effect (ETA Squared) due to the fact that the significant increase in visits from the pre period to the during period was negated by the fact that there was a significant decrease in visits from the during period to the post period. Further post hoc analysis was performed using paired t-tests to compare the means within each incentive group. Cardio Minutes 2000 was the only group out of the four incentives which did not show a significant (p 5 -05) increase in adherence from the pre-incentive period to the during incentive period. All of the groups showed a decrease in adherence when comparing the pre-incentive period to the post incentive period. In two of the groups this decrease was significant (p 5.05). All of the groups showed a significant (p 5.05) decrease in adherence once the incentive period was completed (during incentive to post incentive). Not all of the changes in adherence from pre- to during to post-incentive in each of the four groups studied were statistically significant. However, they all followed the same trend. The trend in each group was an increase in adherence from pre-incentive to during incentive, followed by a post incentive decrease in adherence which, interestingly enough, fell below pre-incentive levels. The results of this study indicate that incentives play a statistical significant role in exercise adherence and if implemented correctly could benefit, first and foremost, employee's and their families, as well as, the company and its shareholders.

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Kinesiology Commons