Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Psychology



First Advisor

Joseph S. Rossi


In the world of increasing levels of stress and declining rates of exercise in today's youth, the development of effective intervention strategies for stress management and exercise behavior is crucial for the promotion of healthy physical and mental health lifestyles in adolescent populations. Utilizing Grant's Model of Adolescent Psychopathology and key theoretical constructs from the Transtheoretical Model of Change (TTM), this study examined the relationship between self-efficacy and decisional balance measures within and across two target behaviors (stress management, exercise). The current study included 996 high school students from the state of Rhode Island who participated in a larger four-year, multi-behavior intervention research project conducted by the Cancer Prevention Research Center at the University of Rhode Island. Students completed a series of computer administered assessments of self-efficacy and decisional balance for stress management and exercise behaviors across three time periods. A cross-lagged panel design was used to examine the longitudinal relationship between self-efficacy and decisional balance constructs. The results supported the TTM assumption that changes in decisional balance measures preceded changes in self-efficacy measures. The most compelling findings were found between decisional balance pros across exercise and stress management behavior (x2(374) = 710.491, CFI= .976, RMSEA= .036, AASR= .032, p< .001). All paths within this model were significant; time 1 exercise pros to time 2 stress management pros (β=.21), time 1 stress management pros to time 2 exercise pros (β= .20, p< .05), time 2 exercise pros to time 3 stress management pros (β= .23, p< .05) and time 2 stress management pros to time 3 exercise pros (β= .34, p< .05). Results also provided support for the notion that changes on either stress management or exercise behavior positively influenced changes on the other behavior. These findings provided preliminary evidence for the viability of multi-behavior interventions as well as implications for potential intervention strategies for addressing adolescent stress management behavior utilizing Grant's Model of Psychopathology. Finally, incorporating stress management strategies with other health promotion interventions was considered to be the most promising area for future studies.



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