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When Studying Affective Responses to Exercise, the Definition of “Intensity” Must Reference Homeostatic Perturbations: A Retort to Vollaard et al.

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

In articles on the methodology of studies investigating affective and enjoyment responses to high-intensity interval training, we noted that, occasionally, exercise conditions described as involving “high” intensity exhibited heart rates that were only as high as, or even lower than, heart rates recorded during comparator conditions described as being of “moderate” intensity. Drs. Vollaard, Metcalfe, Kinghorn, Jung, and Little suggest instead that exercise intensity in high-intensity interval-training studies can be defined in terms of percentages of peak workload. Although we maintain that defining exercise intensity in terms of percentages of maximal heart rate is a suboptimal way to quantify the degree of homeostatic perturbations in response to exercise, we are unconvinced that definitions of intensity relying solely on workload are appropriate for studies investigating affective and enjoyment responses to exercise. The reason is that affect is theorized to have evolved to relay information about homeostatic perturbations to consciousness.

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Percentage of Peak Workload Is Suitable for Quantification of Exercise Intensity During High-Intensity Intervals: A Comment on Ekkekakis, Hartman, and Ladwig

Niels B.J. Vollaard, Richard S. Metcalfe, Daniel Kinghorn, Mary E. Jung, and Jonathan P. Little

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Parents on the Concept of Physical Literacy: What Do They Know, What Do They Do, and What Do They Want?

Aaron Simpson, Ben Jackson, Ashleigh L. Thornton, Michael Rosenberg, Brodie Ward, Peter Roberts, Amanda Derbyshire, and Timothy Budden

Physical literacy development in early childhood, viewed by many as the foundation for lifelong physical activity engagement, is significantly influenced by parents. Our aim was to explore parents’ understanding of physical literacy and gain insight into their perspectives on physical literacy promotion. We recruited 18 parents of children between 5 and 8 years old in Australia. Using semistructured interviews and thematic analysis, we identified several key issues regarding parents’ understanding and implementation of physical literacy. Parents expressed interest in improving their implementation of physical literacy practices and had (often unintentionally) provided support for physical literacy subcomponents in the past. However, they described difficulties prioritizing physical literacy above other parental demands and expressed conflicting perceptions regarding where the responsibility should lie for developing their child’s physical literacy (e.g., at home or at school). To ensure that the physical literacy “message” reaches parents, we encourage physical literacy promoters to consider the target (e.g., responsibility, priorities, and awareness) of their promotional strategies. Further investigation into the influence of sociocultural and economic factors on parents’ understanding and application of physical literacy is warranted.

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Psychological Aspects of Motocross Racing Considering Expected, Perceived, and Actual Performance

Liza Komáromi, László Tóth, Ricardo de la Vega Marcos, and Attila Szabo

Motocross racing is a seldom-researched popular extreme sport. This field research aimed to investigate feeling states, perceived arousal, anxiety, and negative and positive affect in the anticipatory and recovery race periods and their relationship to expected and perceived performance. Twenty Motocross racers completed psychometric scales before and after a national championship race. Results revealed that objective performance was unrelated to psychological measures. Arousal, anxiety, and positive affect were lower after the race. Expected performance was unrelated to postrace measures. Still, perceived performance correlated significantly with the feeling state, anxiety, and positive affect after the race and the feeling state before the race. Furthermore, racers who performed as expected or better showed improved feeling states after the race compared with those who did worse than expected. The core affect of the latter group declined. This research on psychological states during Motocross races could motivate new initiatives for future studies.

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Does Participating in a Variety of Activities at a Variety of Locations or With Different People Predict Physical Activity Behavior Among Adolescents? The Mediating Role of Perceived Variety

Ross M. Murray, Benjamin D. Sylvester, Catherine M. Sabiston, Isabelle Doré, and Mathieu Bélanger

We examine whether adolescents’ participating in a variety of physical activities, locations, and/or with a variety of people relates to physical activity 16 months later and whether perceptions of variety mediate these relationships. Adolescents (N = 369) completed measures indicating various physical activities they participated in, where they primarily participated, and with whom they primarily participated, at three time points over a year (averaged for baseline measures). Perceptions of variety was measured 8 months later. Physical activity was measured 16 months after baseline. Mediation analyses tested perceptions of variety as a mediator of variety support and physical activity. Results indicated that variety of activities and variety of locations were indirectly associated with physical activity through perceptions of variety. Participating in a breadth of physical activities in a variety of locations during adolescence is positively associated with perceptions of variety, which relates to physical activity 16 months later.

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Digest

Kim Gammage, Erica Bennett, Alyson Crozier, Alison Ede, Matt Hoffman, Seungmin Lee, Sascha Leisterer, Sean Locke, Desi McEwan, Kathleen Mellano, Eva Pila, and Matthew Stork

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Volume 46 (2024): Issue 1 (Feb 2024)

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The Effects of Positive Versus Negative Self-Talk on Vertical Jump in Soccer Players: The Moderating Role of Need for Cognition

Javier Horcajo and Rafael Mateos

The current study analyzed the effects of positive versus negative self-talk on physical performance in soccer players from a multiprocess approach. We operationalized the process distinction using the need-for-cognition (NC) construct. Thus, NC was measured and self-talk (i.e., positive vs. negative) was manipulated between participants (i.e., 126 soccer players, age 18 years or older, who were competing in national, regional, or local competitions). Physical performance was assessed by a vertical-jump test. According to hypothesis, regression analyses indicated that positive versus negative self-talk influenced physical performance to a greater extent for high-NC individuals than for low-NC individuals. Specifically, among high-NC soccer players, relative to baseline, positive self-talk produced greater physical performance in the vertical-jump test than negative self-talk. In contrast, among low-NC soccer players, no difference was found between positive and negative self-talk on physical performance. These results supported the moderating role of NC.

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An Ego-Involving Motivational Climate Can Trigger Inflammation, a Threat Appraisal, and Basic Psychological Need Frustration in an Achievement Context

Candace M. Hogue

In this experimental investigation, male college students (N = 56; M age = 19.95 years) who did not yet know how to juggle were randomly assigned to a 30-min instructional juggling session with either a caring, task-involving climate or an ego-involving climate. An inflammatory response to psychosocial stress was assessed via salivary interleukin-6 prior to (t = 0) and following (t = +30, +45, +60 min) the session. Surveys were utilized to examine positive and negative affect prior to the session and affect, psychological needs, challenge and threat appraisals, and perceived ability to juggle following the session. This is the first investigation to show that ego-involving climates can trigger inflammation, along with maladaptive psychological responses. Participants in the caring, task-involving climate responded with greater psychological need satisfaction, resource evaluations, positive affect, and perceived juggling ability. This research suggests there may be important physiological consequences to ego-involving climates, in addition to concerning cognitive, affective, and behavioral responses.

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Athletes’ Coping With the COVID-19 Pandemic: The Role of Self-Compassion and Cognitive Appraisal

Brittney B. Aceron, Kathleen S. Wilson, Matt D. Hoffmann, and Lenny Wiersma

Coping with the COVID-19 pandemic had implications for athletes’ mental well-being. This mixed-methods study examined the influence of self-compassion on athletes’ coping during the pandemic through the mediator of cognitive appraisal. The prospective design involved 90 athletes completing two online surveys 1 week apart measuring self-compassion, cognitive appraisal, and coping strategies. The PROCESS macro was used for the mediation analysis. A qualitative thematic analysis was used to explore athletes’ responses to the pandemic during the second survey. Self-compassion had an indirect negative effect on avoidance-focused coping by appraising the pandemic as less of a threat (95% confidence interval [−0.20, −0.001]) and had a total effect on emotion-focused coping (95% confidence interval [0.02, 0.40]). Based on the thematic analysis, athletes described many raw emotions and a variety of coping strategies during the pandemic. Self-compassion demonstrated promising benefits to athletes who dealt with the challenging situation of the pandemic.