Psychological Responses to Acute Exercise in Sedentary Black and White Individuals

in Journal of Physical Activity and Health
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Racial differences in psychological determinants of exercise exist between non-Hispanic blacks (blacks) and non-Hispanic whites (whites). To date, no study has examined racial differences in the psychological responses during and after exercise. The objective of this study was to compare psychological outcomes of single exercise bouts in blacks and whites.


On 3 separate occasions, sedentary black (n = 16) and white (n = 14) participants walked on a treadmill at 75%max HR for 75 minutes. Questionnaires assessing mood, state anxiety, and exercise task self-efficacy were administered before and after each exercise bout. In-task mood and rating of perceived exertion (RPE) were measured every 5 minutes during exercise.


Exercise self-efficacy and psychological distress significantly improved in both blacks and whites. However during exercise blacks reported more positive in-task mood and lower RPE compared with whites.


These data suggest that racial differences exist in psychological responses during exercise. Further research should confirm these findings in a larger, free-living population.

Hasson, Granados, Freedson, and Braun are with the Dept of Kinesiology, University of Massachusetts, Amherst, MA. Marquez is with the Depts of Kinesiology and Nutrition, University of Illinois at Chicago. Bennett is with the Dept of Psychology, Duke University, Durham, NC.