Physical Activity and Psychological Well-Being: Testing Alternative Sociological Interpretations

in Sociology of Sport Journal
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This study examines the relationship between physical activity in sport and feelings of well-being, testing alternative interpretations of the relationship between these two variables. It was expected that there would be positive relationships between physical activity on the one hand and physical fitness, feelings of well-being, social interaction in the sport and exercise environment, and socioeconomic status on the other hand. It was also expected that physical fitness, social interaction, and socioeconomic status would be positively related to psychological well-being. Further, it was expected that any positive zero-order relationship of physical activity and well-being would be at least in part a result of the conjoint effects of the other variables. The analyses were conducted separately for the male and female subsamples of a large survey study of Canadian adults. The results, after controls, show a modest positive relationship of physical activity and well-being for males but no such relationship for females. The predicted independent effects of the control factors obtained for both males and females. Interpretations of the results are discussed.

William McTeer is with the Department of Physical Education, Wilfrid Laurier University, Waterloo, Ontario N2L 3C5. James Curtis is with the Departments of Sociology and Kinesiology at the University of Waterloo, Waterloo, Ontario N2L 3G1.

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