Feasibility of an affect-based intervention to increase physical activity among middle school students
Margaret Schneider, Ph.D.
Planning, Policy and Design
University of California, Irvine
Monday, May 6th
View Dr. Schneider's webpage
Click Read More below for abstract
The majority of American adolescents fail to meet recommended levels of physical activity, and interventions have proven only minimally effective. Maximizing positive affect during exercise may improve adoption of and adherence to an active lifestyle. Doing so within a school-based setting requires translating clinically-based research to the Physical Education class. Relevant research suggests that the affective response to exercise is influenced both by individual differences in affective style and by characteristics of the exercise (mainly intensity). To document the feasibility of implementing an intervention that would enhance the affective experience during Physical Education class, healthy adolescents (N = 74) were classified as “reluctant” or “latent” exercisers and then were randomly assigned to an affect-based or a traditional exercise prescription. The differences between the traditional and the affect-based exercise prescriptions confirmed that reluctant exercisers felt better working at a lower intensity, whereas latent exercisers felt better working at a higher intensity. All students wore heart rate monitor watches daily during PE for 8 weeks, and were encouraged to adjust their activity level to remain within their personalized target heart rate zone. Intervention logs, observations and interviews indicated that study procedures were implemented successfully and students enjoyed study participation. Future analysis of the study data will evaluate whether the affect-based intervention is more effective among reluctant exercisers for increasing physical activity, physical fitness and enjoyment of exercise.