Data were collected from 14 older, rural African American men and women to explore how individual motivation affects the initiation and maintenance of health-related behavior. The research consisted of an inductive exploration designed to examine the validity and cultural relevance of an existing theoretical framework for wellness motivation in health behavior change. Through the technique of constant comparative analysis, the basic social process of empowering potential was substantiated as a process of individual growth and goal-directed behavior that facilitated the initiation and maintenance of positive health patterns. The process of empowering potential consisted of three stages: appraising readiness changing, and integrating change. Two categories provided a cultural context for the process: health value orientation and network affiliation. The data validated and expanded a developing theoretical framework for wellness motivation in health behavior change.
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