Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)




Kathleen A. Martin Ginis




Regular physical activity for people with spinal cord injury (SCI) has been related to numerous benefits, yet half of this population remains inactive (Martin Ginis et aI.,2010). The SCI community desires useful physical activity infonnation (Boyd & Bardak, 2004). It has been suggested that Canada's Physical Activity Guide for Adults Living with SCI (CPAG-SCI) be created (Martin Ginis & Hicks, 2007). This study sought to detemline what people with SCI would find useful in CP AG-SCI and to establish effective means for providing infonnation to maximize thoughts about being physically active. Firstly, 78 people with SCI (M(age)=45.06) were asked what content to include in CPAG-SCI and how to present it. Participants indicated that physical activity knowledge, motivational infonnation, safety and health infonnation, sources of infonnation and social support, and self-regulation infonnation were desired. CPAG-SCI as a booklet or interactive website was preferred (both 43.6%), text with pictures (83.3%), photographs (57.7%), bright colours (48.7%), simple messages (61.5%), and a calendar pull-out (70.5%). Secondly, the effectiveness of an experimental vignette aimed at changing physical activity social cognitions was explored. Based on the Health Action Process Approach (Schwarzer, 1992; 2004), participants were classified as in the motivational (n=32, M(age)=45.31) or volitional phase (n=47, M(age)=43.36), and then randomly assigned to an experimental or control vignette exposure condition. Social cognitions were measured one-week before, and immediately following, exposure to the vignette. Repeated measures ANOVAs showed that social cognitions generally decreased in those exposed to the experimental vignette, with coping plans approaching a significant decrease among those in the motivational phase (t(17) =2.10, p<.05). Exploratory analyses suggest that perceived similarity to the vignette character may be a key variable contributing to the ineffectiveness of the experimental vignette. Overall, it is suggested that physical activity vignettes in CPAG-SCI not target social cognition change.

Keywords: spinal cord injury, physical activity, vignette, perceived similarity, social cognitions

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