Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Psychology


Behavioral Science



First Advisor

Lisa L. Harlow


It is not too difficult to get an individual to start a physical activity program. It is incredibly difficult to get an individual to maintain a physical activity program over time. All of life’s major and minor inconveniences can become a barrier to performing physical activity, and thus lead to sedentary behavior. The construct of resilience, defined as positively adapting to adverse circumstances, may be helpful in the maintenance of physical activity. However, resilience as a construct is not entirely understood in the current literature. Some theorists suggest resilience is a single construct, while other theorists suggest that resilience is a hierarchical construct that is comprised of other traits. The first portion of this dissertation tested a hierarchical model of resilience. The results of exploratory and confirmatory factors analyses suggest six traits underlie resilience (purpose in life, self-esteem, life satisfaction, cognitive flexibility, proactive coping, and social support). The hierarchical model of resilience found in the first part of this dissertation was then used for the second portion where structural equation modeling tested if resilience mediated the relationship between barriers to physical activity and physical activity. Consistent with a mediational model, the results showed a significant negative relationship between barriers to physical activity and resilience, and a significant positive relationship between resilience and physical activity. However, there was also a significant direct negative link between barriers to physical activity and physical activity. Thus, results suggest that resilience can help mediate the relationship between barriers to activity and being active, although there is also a direct link. Future research may want to examine this relationship longitudinally, and further refine the hierarchical model.



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