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Emily L. Mailey, Deirdre Dlugonski, Wei-Wen Hsu and Michelle Segar

Background: Many parents are insufficiently active. Further research is needed to understand the goals that drive sustained exercise participation among parents. The purpose of this study was to use self-determination theory derived constructs to examine the relationship between parents’ exercise goals and their autonomous motivation, controlled motivation, and exercise behavior across 1 year. Methods: Mothers (n = 226) and fathers (n = 70) of children less than 16 years completed the Exercise Motivations Inventory-2 and, 1 year later, the Behavioral Regulation in Exercise Questionnaire-2 and Godin Leisure-Time Exercise Questionnaire. Linear mixed effects models were used to examine the longitudinal relationships between exercise goals and autonomous motivation, controlled motivation, and leisure-time exercise. Results: All goals except weight management were significantly associated with autonomous motivation, whereas only weight and appearance goals predicted controlled motivation. Exercising for stress management and revitalization, but not health- or appearance-related goals, was significantly related to exercise behavior over 1 year. Conclusions: Only goals related to immediate affective outcomes were associated with both autonomous motivation and exercise behavior over time. These findings support recent calls to “rebrand exercise” as a means to improve daily well-being. Such goals may drive parents to prioritize exercise because they value the immediate benefits it provides.

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Emily L. Mailey, Jennifer Huberty and Brandon C. Irwin

Background:

The purpose of this study was to examine the feasibility and effectiveness of a web-based intervention to promote physical activity and self-worth among working mothers.

Methods:

Participants (N = 69) were randomly assigned to receive a standard web-based intervention or an enhanced intervention that included group dynamics strategies to promote engagement. The 8-week intervention was guided by self-determination theory. Each week, participants were instructed to complete 3 tasks: listen to a podcast related to well-being, complete a workbook assignment, and communicate with other participants on a discussion board. Participants in the enhanced condition received an additional weekly task to enhance group cohesion. Data were collected at baseline, week 8, and week 16.

Results:

Physical activity (P < .001, η2 = 0.35) and self-worth (P < .001, η2 = 0.39) increased significantly in both groups following the intervention, and introjected (P < .001, η2 = 0.30) and external motivation (P = .04, η2 = 0.10) decreased. Website use declined across the 8-week intervention in both groups (P < .001, η2 = 0.48); however, discussion board use was higher in the enhanced condition (P = .04, η2 = 0.21).

Conclusions:

These findings suggest web-based interventions can improve physical activity and self-worth among working mothers. Group dynamics strategies only minimally enhanced user engagement, and future studies are needed to optimize web-based intervention designs.

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Thomas R. Wójcicki, Amanda N. Szabo, Siobhan M. White, Emily L. Mailey, Arthur F. Kramer and Edward McAuley

Background:

The purpose of this study was to assess the extent to which participation in a 12-month exercise program changed the degree of importance that older adults attached to physical activity. In addition, associations among changes in physical activity importance and health-related and psychosocial outcomes were examined.

Methods:

Community-dwelling older adults (N = 179) were recruited to participate in a 12-month exercise trial examining the association between changes in physical activity and fitness with changes in brain structure and psychological health. Participants were randomly assigned to a walking condition or a flexibility, toning, and balance condition. Physical, psychological, and cognitive assessments were taken at months 0, 6, and 12.

Results:

Involvement in a 12-month exercise program increased the importance that participants placed on physical activity; this positive change was similar across exercise condition and sex. Changes in importance, however, were only associated with changes in physical health status and outcome expectations for exercise midway through the intervention. There were no significant associations at the end of the program.

Conclusions:

Regular participation in physical activity can positively influence the perceived importance of the behavior itself. Yet, the implications of such changes on physical activity-related outcomes remain equivocal and warrant further investigation.

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Emily L. Mailey, Neha P. Gothe, Thomas R. Wójcicki, Amanda N. Szabo, Erin A. Olson, Sean P. Mullen, Jason T. Fanning, Robert W. Motl and Edward McAuley

The criteria one uses to reduce accelerometer data can profoundly influence the interpretation of research outcomes. The purpose of this study was to examine the influence of 3 different interruption periods (i.e., 20, 30, and 60 min) on the amount of data retained for analyses and estimates of sedentary time among older adults. Older adults (N = 311, M age = 71.1) wore an accelerometer for 7 d and reported wear time on an accelerometer log. Accelerometer data were downloaded and scored using 20-, 30-, and 60-min interruption periods. Estimates of wear time, derived using each interruption period, were compared with self-reported wear time, and descriptive statistics were used to compare estimates of sedentary time. Results showed a longer interruption period (i.e., 60 min) yields the largest sample size and the closest approximation of self-reported wear time. A short interruption period (i.e., 20 min) is likely to underestimate sedentary time among older adults.