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A Methodological Checklist for Studies of Pleasure and Enjoyment Responses to High-Intensity Interval Training: Part I. Participants and Measures

Panteleimon Ekkekakis, Mark E. Hartman, and Matthew A. Ladwig

For decades, the exercise psychology research literature echoed the conclusion that exercise makes most people feel better, with no clear evidence that this “feel-better effect” is moderated by intensity. An overhaul of the methodological approach subsequently showed that high-intensity exercise is experienced as unpleasant, and the “feel-better effect,” although possible, is conditional and therefore not as robust or prevalent as initially thought. Recently, several studies investigating high-intensity interval training (HIIT) have concluded that HIIT is pleasant and enjoyable, despite the high intensity. Considering that HIIT is emerging as an option in physical activity recommendations and exercise prescription guidelines, in part due to these claims, a methodological checklist is presented to aid researchers, peer reviewers, editors, and other readers in critically appraising studies examining the effects of HIIT on affect and enjoyment. This first part addresses the characteristics and number of participants, as well as the selection of measures of affect and enjoyment.

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A Methodological Checklist for Studies of Pleasure and Enjoyment Responses to High-Intensity Interval Training: Part II. Intensity, Timing of Assessments, Data Modeling, and Interpretation

Panteleimon Ekkekakis, Mark E. Hartman, and Matthew A. Ladwig

Recent studies have concluded that high-intensity interval training should be seen as a “viable alternative” to, and may be more enjoyable than, moderate-intensity continuous exercise. If true, these claims have the potential to revolutionize the science and practice of exercise, establishing high-intensity interval training as not only a physiologically effective exercise modality but also a potentially sustainable one. However, these claims stand in contrast to voluminous evidence according to which high levels of exercise intensity are typically experienced as less pleasant than moderate levels. To help researchers, peer reviewers, editors, and critical readers appreciate possible reasons for the apparently conflicting results, we present a checklist that identifies crucial methodological elements in studies investigating the effects of high-intensity interval training on affect and enjoyment. This second installment covers how “high-intensity” and “moderate-intensity” experimental conditions are defined, the timing of assessments of affect, the modeling of affective responses, and data interpretation.

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Affective Responses to Increasing- and Decreasing-Intensity Resistance Training Protocols

Jasmin C. Hutchinson, Leighton Jones, Panteleimon Ekkekakis, Boris Cheval, Ralf Brand, Gabrielle M. Salvatore, Samantha Adler, and Yan Luo

This study compared the effects of an increasing-intensity (UP) and a decreasing-intensity (DOWN) resistance training protocol on affective responses across six training sessions. Novice participants (M age 43.5 ± 13.7 years) were randomly assigned to UP (n = 18) or DOWN (n = 17) resistance training groups. Linear mixed-effects models showed that the evolution of affective valence within each training session was significantly moderated by the group (b = −0.45, p ≤ .001), with participants in the UP group reporting a decline in pleasure during each session (b = −0.82) and the DOWN group reporting an improvement (b = 0.97; ps < .001). Remembered pleasure was significantly higher in the DOWN group compared to the UP group (b = 0.57, p = .004). These findings indicate that a pattern of decreasing intensity throughout a resistance exercise session can elicit more positive affective responses and retrospective affective evaluations of resistance training.

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Evaluating the Feasibility, Acceptability, and Engagement of an mHealth Physical Activity Intervention for Adults With Spinal Cord Injury Who Walk: A Randomized Controlled Trial

Sarah V.C. Lawrason and Kathleen A. Martin Ginis

The purpose of this study was to test a partnered, self-determination theory–informed mobile health intervention called SCI Step Together, using an 8-week randomized controlled trial design. The aim of SCI Step Together is to increase the quantity and quality of physical activity (PA) among adults with spinal cord injury (SCI) who walk. The SCI Step Together program provides PA modules and PA self-monitoring tools and facilitates peer and health coach support. Process, resource, management, and scientific feasibility were assessed, and participants completed questionnaires at baseline, mid-, and postintervention to assess determinants and outcomes of PA. Interviews were conducted to evaluate acceptability. Results suggest that the program demonstrated good feasibility, acceptability, and engagement. The intervention group (n = 11) had greater fulfillment of basic psychological needs and knowledge (p = .05) than the control group (n = 9). There were no significant interaction effects for other outcomes. The SCI Step Together program is feasible and acceptable and efficacious for improving some psychosocial variables. Results may inform SCI mobile health programs.

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Digest

Kim Gammage, Jeff Caron, Alyson Crozier, Alison Ede, Matt Hoffman, Christopher Hill, Sascha Leisterer, Sean Locke, Desi McEwan, Kathleen Mellano, Eva Pila, and Matthew Stork

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Volume 45 (2023): Issue 1 (Feb 2023)

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Evaluating the “Optimal Competition Parenting Workshop” Using the RE-AIM Framework: A 4-Year Organizational-Level Intervention in British Junior Tennis

Sam N. Thrower, Christopher M. Spray, and Chris G. Harwood

The purpose of the current study was to utilize the RE-AIM (i.e., reach, effectiveness, adoption, implementation, and maintenance) framework to evaluate the national-level scale-out of the Lawn Tennis Association’s “Optimal Competition Parenting Workshop” (OCPW) across a 4-year period. During 2018, 65 workshops were run across the United Kingdom, 1,043 parents registered, and 933 parents attended. Adopting a quasi-experimental design, multilevel analyses revealed significant increases in parents’ (n = 130) task goal orientation and competition tennis parenting efficacy, as well as significant decreases in ego goal orientation and unpleasant emotions. Children’s perceptions of both mother- and father-initiated ego-involving motivational climate and their own ego goal orientation significantly decreased across time. From 2019 to 2021, a further 64 workshops were delivered to 1,110 parents with no significant differences in parents’ satisfaction, enjoyment, instructor evaluation, or transfer intention over time when compared against workshop evaluations in 2018. Overall, the OCPW represents a well-received, practical, and effective brief intervention for enhancing parental involvement in junior tennis.

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Student Athletes’ Causal Attributions for Sport and School Achievement in Relation to Sport Dropout and Grade Point Average

Milla Saarinen, Raymond Bertram, Kaisa Aunola, Julia Pankkonen, and Tatiana V. Ryba

The present study longitudinally examined stability and change in the attributional profiles of Finnish student athletes (n = 391) in upper secondary sport schools. Moreover, it examined the extent to which these profiles, and changes in them, were associated with athletes’ level of sport competition and school achievements and dropouts at the end of upper secondary sport school. Using latent profile analysis, five different and highly stable attributional profiles were identified for student athletes: (a) depressive (6.9%), (b) athletic self-serving (23.0%), (c) average (16.4%), (d) learned helplessness (30.9%), and (e) responsible (22.8%). The results further showed that over the 3-year study period, the responsible attributional style, wherein individuals take responsibility for successes and failures, predicted student athletes’ subsequent high grade point average and low sport dropout rates even after controlling for the impacts of their earlier grade point average, gender, and type of sport.

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Digest

Kim Gammage, Jeff Caron, Alyson Crozier, Alison Ede, Matt Hoffman, Christopher Hill, Sean Locke, Desi McEwan, Kathleen Mellano, Eva Pila, Matthew Stork, and Svenja Wolf

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Autonomy-Supportive Teaching Enhances Prosocial and Reduces Antisocial Behavior via Classroom Climate and Psychological Needs: A Multilevel Randomized Control Intervention

Sung Hyeon Cheon, Johnmarshall Reeve, and Herbert W. Marsh

Autonomy-supportive teaching increases prosocial and decreases antisocial behavior. Previous research showed that these effects occur because autonomy-supportive teaching improves students’ need states (a student-level process). However, the present study investigated whether these effects also occur because autonomy-supportive teaching improves the classroom climate (a classroom-level process). Teachers from 80 physical education classrooms were randomly assigned to participate (or not) in an autonomy-supportive teaching intervention, while their 2,227 secondary-grade students reported their need satisfaction and frustration, supportive and hierarchical classroom climates, and prosocial and antisocial behaviors at the beginning, middle, and end of an academic year. A doubly latent, multilevel structural equation model showed that teacher participation in the intervention (experimental condition) increased class-wide need satisfaction, a supportive climate, and prosocial behavior and decreased class-wide need frustration, a hierarchical climate, and antisocial behavior. Together, greater collective need satisfaction and a more supportive climate combined to explain increased prosocial behavior, while lesser need frustration and a less hierarchical climate combined to explain decreased antisocial behavior. These classroom climate effects have been overlooked, yet they are essential to explain why autonomy-supportive teaching improves students’ social functioning.