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Objectives. To predict exercise stage transitions over two consecutive 6-month periods using the theory of planned behaviour (TPB). It was hypothesized that different social cognitive constructs would predict different stage transitions.

Design. Prospective and longitudinal in order to predict multiple stage transitions over time. Assessments were made at baseline, 6 months and 1 year.

Method. Participants were a randomly selected population-based sample of 683 adults who completed two telephone interviews (baseline and 6 months) that assessed exercise stage, intention, perceived behavioural control, attitude, subjective norm, and social support, and a mailed survey (1 year) that assessed exercise stage.

Results. Progression from pre-contemplation was predicted by intention, attitude and subjective norm; progression/regression from contemplation was predicted by intention, perceived behavioural control, attitude, and social support; progression/regression from preparation was predicted by intention and attitude; and regression from action/maintenance was predicted by intention, attitude and social support.

Conclusions. Different social cognitive constructs predicted different stage transitions, which indicates that exercise behaviour change may be represented by a series of stage transitions. Moreover, the TPB may be a useful model for highlighting the key social cognitive constructs that are important for exercise stage transitions.