A Profile for Predicting Attrition from Exercise in Older Adults

Sean P. Mullen, Thomas R. Wójcicki, Emily L. Mailey, Amanda N. Szabo, Neha P. Gothe, Erin A. Olson, Jason Fanning, Arthur Kramer, Edward McAuley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The purpose of this study was to determine a profile for predicting attrition among older adults involved in a 12-month exercise program. The parent study was a single-blinded randomized controlled trial. The study took place between 2006 and 2009 within a university setting. Older adults (N = 179) completed baseline assessments of functional performance and psychosocial measures. Participants who were randomized, elected to receive treatment, and did not complete the exercise program were considered "dropouts" (n = 35). Those who completed the program (n = 144) were classified as "completers." A latent profile analysis revealed two distinct patterns of memory complaints, self-efficacy to overcome barriers to exercise, balance performance, and stair performance. Dropouts were nearly twice as likely to be members of the profile that exhibited a higher degree of memory complaints, lower self-efficacy for overcoming exercise barriers, poorer single leg balance, and longer times to walk down stairs. The results provide an initial validation of a profile for discriminating between "dropouts" and "completers," one that may have considerable utility for screening older adults prior to study entry.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)489-496
Number of pages8
JournalPrevention Science
Issue number5
StatePublished - Oct 2013


  • Attrition
  • Dropout
  • Exercise
  • Older adults

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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