Effect of the SPARK Program on Physical Activity, Cardiorespiratory Endurance, and Motivation in Middle-School Students

in Journal of Physical Activity and Health
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This study aimed to examine the effect of a 9-week SPARK program on physical activity (PA), cardiorespiratory endurance (Progressive Aerobic Cardiovascular Endurance Run; PACER), and motivation in middle-school students.


174 students attended baseline and posttests and change scores computed for each outcome. A MANOVA was employed to examine change score differences using follow-up ANOVA and Bonferroni post hoc tests.


MANOVA yielded a significant interaction for Grade × Gender × Group (Wilks’s Λ = 0.89, P < .001). ANOVA for PA revealed significant differences between SPARK grades 6 and 7 (Mean Δ = 8.11, P < .01) and Traditional grades 6 and 8 (Mean Δ = –6.96, P < .01). ANOVA also revealed greater PACER change for Traditional boys in grade 8 (P < .01) and SPARK girls in grade 8 (P < .01). There were significant interactions with perceived competence differences between SPARK grades 6 and 8 (Mean Δ = 0.38, P < .05), Enjoyment differences between SPARK grades 6 and 7 (Mean Δ = 0.67, P < .001), and SPARK grades 6 and 8 (Mean Δ = 0.81, P < .001).


Following the intervention, SPARK displayed greater increases on PA and motivation measures in younger students compared with the Traditional program.

Fu (fuy2@unk.edu) is with the Dept of Kinesiology and Sport Sciences, University of Nebraska, Kearney, NE. Gao is with the School of Kinesiology, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN. Hannon is with the College of Physical Activity and Sport Sciences, West Virginia University, Morgantown, WV. Burns and Brusseau are with the Dept of Exercise and Sport Science, University of Utah, Salt Lake City, UT.