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David A. Dzewaltowski

This study compared the ability of Bandura's social cognitive theory and Fish-bein and Ajzen's theory of reasoned action to predict exercise behavior. The theories' constructs were assessed and then the exercise behaviors of 328 individuals were recorded for the following 7 weeks. A path analysis indicated that the theory of reasoned action model fit the data, but explained only 5 % of the exercise behavior variance. Two social cognitive theory variables, self-efficacy and self-evaluated dissatisfaction, significantly predicted exercise behavior. Also, a multiplicative function of self-evaluated dissatisfaction and outcome expectations increased the amount of predicted exercise behavior variance to 16%. Thus, individuals who were confident they could adhere to an exercise program and were satisfied with their standing on probable outcomes from participation (e.g., present body weight) exercised more days per week. A commonality analysis indicated that the theory of reasoned action did not account for any unique variance in exercise behavior over the social cognitive theory constructs. In sum, social cognitive theory was more effective than the theory of reasoned action in predicting exercise behavior.

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David A. Dzewaltowski and Richard R. Rosenkranz

Positive youth development (PYD) is an emerging area of study and practice that targets fostering the assets of young people to avoid problem behaviors and excel in meeting diverse life challenges. This paper describes how PYD evolved from treating problem behaviors to preventing problem behaviors in at-risk youth, to more recently helping all youth thrive and excel in numerous domains. Although evidence to inform community policy and practice has emerged, there is a lack of consensus on how to define PYD, and this lack of consensus has impacted progress in PYD physical activity behavioral science. This paper recommends PYD physical activity behavioral science reject disciplinary boundaries and (a) examine the nature of person-environment interaction in the context of physical activity as the primary outcome, (b) target big-picture physical activity outcome questions, and (c) come to a consensus on the domains of physical activity behavioral science research competencies.

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Richard R. Rosenkranz and David A. Dzewaltowski

Previous studies have demonstrated that parents may influence the physical activity (PA) levels of children. The present study sought to determine whether PA-related parenting behaviors were associated with the physical activity and relative weight of children, controlling for other covariates. A community sample of mothers (n = 193) of after-school-program attendees completed questionnaires assessing parental social support for PA, sedentary behavior, and moderate-to-vigorous physical activity. Children (N = 193, 51% girls) were objectively assessed for height and weight via stadiometer and digital scale, and the data were converted to body mass index (BMI) percentile via Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC, 2010a) growth charts. Linear regression analysis revealed that maternal encouragement for child PA was positively related to both child PA and BMI percentile. However, mother-child shared physical activity was negatively related to child BMI percentile. Therefore, varying types of PA-related parenting behaviors may have differential relationships with child PA and relative weight.

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Luke E. Patrick and David A. Dzewaltowski

Research on older adult physical activity promotion has lacked methods to measure older adults’ physical activity perceptions and preferences. This article describes perceptual and preference-mapping marketing techniques for investigating perceived features in physical activities. Using these techniques, investigators can represent the dimensions in which older adults perceive physical activity modes, label them, and consider individual differences. In this study, older adults compared 13 physical activities and ranked them by preference. A 4-dimensional space satisfactorily represented perceptions, and a 3-dimensional space, preferences. Physical activity perceptions varied along orthogonal dimensions of health affordance. intensity, social nature, and competitive nature. Categories of preference were revealed as dimensions relating to noncompetitive/self-efficacy attributes, intensity, and gender practices. The authors conclude that older adults’ physical activity preferences and perceptions can be represented by multiattribute dimensional spaces. Future research should employ these scaling techniques to describe relationships between older adults and multiattribute physical activities and determine how they influence perceptions, preferences, and physical activity patterns.

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Diane L. Gill and David A. Dzewaltowski

In this exploratory investigation of competitive orientations, intercollegiate athletes from a highly competitive Division I program and nonathletes from the same university completed Gill’s Sport Orientation Questionnaire (SOQ) which assesses competitiveness, win and goal orientation; Vealey’s Competitive Orientation Inventory (COI) which assesses the relative importance of performing well (performance) and winning (outcome) in competitive sports; and Helmreich and Spence’s Work and Family Orientation Questionnaire (WOFO), a general achievement orientation measure. A Gender × Athlete/Nonathlete MANOVA yielded both gender and athlete/nonathlete main effects and no interaction. The gender difference was most evident for competitiveness scores, with males scoring higher than females on competitiveness and win orientation. Athletes scored higher than nonathletes on most measures, but especially so on the sport-specific competitiveness score. Athletes also placed more emphasis on performance and less on outcome than nonathletes did. A secondary analysis compared the eight athletic teams and revealed considerable variation among teams. Generally the team differences were not gender differences but seemed to reflect the competitive structure of the activity.

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Jeff M. Shaw, David A. Dzewaltowski and Mary McElroy

Self-efficacy and causal attributions were examined as mediators of perceived psychological momentum. Participants were randomly assigned to either a repeated success or a repeated failure group in which success or failure was manipulated by having participants compete against a highly skilled confederate. Each participant and confederate performed three sets of 10 basketball free throws. Free throw self-efficacy, perceived psychological momentum, and causal dimensions were assessed after each set. Results indicated that the success and failure manipulations were effective in that the responses changed differently over time for both groups. Experiencing competitive success increased perceptions of momentum; experiencing competitive failure decreased perceptions of momentum. In contrast, self-efficacy only changed in response to competitive success as the participants became more confident. Both groups attributed the competitive outcome to internal, personally controllable, and unstable causes.

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David A. Dzewaltowski, John M. Noble and Jeff M. Shaw

Social cognitive theory and the theories of reasoned action and planned behavior were examined in the prediction of 4 weeks of physical activity participation. The theories of reasoned action and planned behavior were supported. Attitude and perceived control predicted intention, and intention predicted physical activity participation. The social cognitive theory variables significantly predicted physical activity participation, with self-efficacy and self-evaluation of the behavior significantly contributing to the prediction. The greater the confidence in participating in physical activity and the greater the satisfaction with present physical activity, the more physical activity performed. Hierarchical regression analyses indicated that perceived control and intentions did not account for any unique variation in physical activity participation over self-efficacy. Therefore the social cognitive theory constructs were better predictors of physical activity than those from the theories of reasoned action and planned behavior.

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Richard R. Rosenkranz, Greg J. Welk and David A. Dzewaltowski


Active recreation sessions taking place within after-school programs (ASP) present an opportunity for attending children to attain part of the recommended 60 minutes of daily moderate-to-vigorous physical activity (MVPA). This cross-sectional study’s purpose was to assess relationships between microlevel ASP environmental characteristics and physical activity and sedentary behavior (SED).


During 161 ASP active recreation sessions, 240 children from 7 schools wore Actigraph GT1M accelerometers and were observed up to 6 times per year, over 3 years. To provide microlevel environmental data, trained observers recorded session times, location, duration, organization, equipment, and number of children and staff. Unadjusted bivariate correlations and multivariable regression analyses were used to assess the influence of microlevel environmental variables on MVPA and SED, with regression models controlling for relevant covariates.


Across all ASP active recreation sessions, children spent 39 ± 15% in MVPA and 16 ± 11% in SED. Session location, boy-to-girl ratio, and duration were significantly related to MVPA in the regression model. For SED, location and duration were significant influences in the model.


Both location and duration appear to be modifiable correlates of group physical activity level, which may serve to inform intervention efforts to promote physical activity in ASP.

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C. Michael Greenwood, David A. Dzewaltowski and Ron French

The importance of self-efficacy as a cognitive mediator of wheelchair mobile individuals’ psychological well-being was examined. Specifically assessed were competitive wheelchair tennis participants’ and wheelchair nontennis participants’ mood and self-efficacy toward performing tennis and general wheelchair mobility tasks. Wheelchair tennis participants exhibited an iceberg profile of positive well-being and were higher than the Profile of Mood States norm on vigor and lower than the norm on tension, anger, depression, fatigue, and confusion. Furthermore, wheelchair mobility self-efficacy significantly correlated with wheelchair tennis self-efficacy. More important, both self-efficacy measures correlated significantly with vigor for the wheelchair tennis participants and wheelchair mobility self-efficacy correlated significantly with each mood factor except depression for the wheelchair nontennis participants. It was concluded that wheelchair mobile individuals participating in tennis may be more confident about performing tennis skills and general wheelchair mobility tasks than are wheelchair mobile nonparticipants.

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Diane L. Gill, David A. Dzewaltowski and Thomas E. Deeter

The validity of the recently developed Sport Orientation Questionnaire (SOQ), a multidimensional measure of sport achievement orientation, was investigated with both high school and university students. Specifically, we examined the correlations of SOQ scores with other measures of competitiveness and general achievement orientation and we compared the relative abilities of SOQ scores and other achievement measures to discriminate participants and nonpar-ticipants in competitive sports, noncompetitive sports, and nonsport activities. The findings obtained with both high school and university students provided convergent and divergent evidence for the validity of the SOQ. SOQ scores were highly correlated with other competitiveness measures, moderately correlated with general achievement measures, and uncorrelated with competitive anxiety and social desirability. Competitiveness scores were the strongest discriminators between competitive sport participants and nonpar-ticipants, but SOQ scores were weaker discriminators for noncompetitive achievement choices. The findings confirm the value of a multidimensional, sport-specific achievement measure and provide good evidence for the validity of the Sport Orientation Questionnaire.