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Fuzhong Li and Peter Harmer

This study was designed to assess the factorial construct validity of the Group Environment Questionnaire (GEQ; Carron, Widmeyer, & Brawley, 1985) within a hypothesis-testing framework. Data were collected from 173 male and 148 female intercollegiate athletes. Based on Carron et al.’s (1985) conceptual model of group cohesion, the study examined (a) the extent to which the first-order four-factor model could be confirmed with an intercollegiate athlete sample and (b) the degree to which higher order factors could account for the covariation among the four first-order factors. The a priori models of GEQ, including both the first- and second-order factor models, were tested through confirmatory factor analysis (CFA). CFA results showed that the theoretically specified first- and second-order factor models fit significantly better than all alternative models. These results demonstrated that the GEQ possesses adequate factorial validity and reliability as a measure of the sport group cohesion construct for an intercollegiate athlete sample.

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Fuzhong Li and K. John Fisher

Objectives:

This study examined the relationship between physical activity and self-rated health in older adults at both the neighborhood level and the resident level.

Methods:

A multilevel design was used that involved neighborhoods as the primary sampling unit and residents nested within each neighborhood. Residents (N = 582, mean age = 73.99 years, SD = 6.26) from 56 neighborhoods in Portland, Oregon, were surveyed on neighborhood physical activity and health status.

Results:

Multilevel path analysis showed a positive relationship between physical activity and health status at the neighborhood level. In addition, perceptions of neighborhood social cohesion, proximity to physical activity facilities, safety for walking, and importance of physical activity involvement, were positively related to high levels of physical activity. At the resident level, education and walking efficacy were positively associated with physical activity.

Conclusions:

The results provide evidence that neighborhood-level physical activity is positively linked to neighborhood-level self-rated health in older adults.

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Fuzhong Li, Peter Harmer, Likang Chi and Naruepon Vongjaturapat

It is becoming increasingly important to determine whether structural models of measures of sport and activity behavior developed in North America are invarant across different populations. This study assessed (a) the cross-cultural validity of the Task and Ego Orientation in Sport Questionnaire (TEOSQ) using male college students across the United States (n = 309), Thailand (n = 312), and Taiwan (n = 307); and (b) the factorial equivalence and structured latent mean differences of the TEOSQ in these samples. Using a confirmatory factor analytic procedure, the initial test of the hypothesized two-factor structure representing task and ego orientation yielded a good fit for each sample. The factor structure was further shown to be metric invariant across the three countries. Furthermore, tests of latent means showed significant differences between groups. The United States sample exhibited the highest levels of task and ego orientation, followed by the Taiwan and Thailand samples, respectively.

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Fuzhong Li, K. John Fisher, Peter Harmer and Machiko Shirai

Low-impact exercise that appeals to elderly adults and can be done almost anywhere provides both societal and individual benefits. One such program is Tai Chi, a traditional Chinese dancelike conditioning exercise. The article presents an easily adopted and adapted 8-form Tai Chi program (Easy Tai Chi) designed for older adults or individuals with mobility challenges or physical impairments. Derived from a simplified 24-form Yang-style Tai Chi, it stresses postural control and body-limb rotational movements. Easy Tai Chi can be performed either standing or sitting, depending on the physical and functional limitations of participants. Preliminary data indicate a number of health benefits of Easy Tai Chi compared with a traditional exercise program. Although subject to further empirical evaluation, Easy Tai Chi can be applied in research settings to investigate prevention or amelioration of hypokinetic diseases and in clinical settings to treat physically frail seniors or others with functional impairments of the musculoskeletal or cardiovascular system.

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Fuzhong Li, Peter Harmer, Nicole L. Wilson and K. John Fisher

This study examined the effect of cobblestone-mat walking on health-related outcomes in older adults. Participants (mean age 72.6, N=40) were randomized into either an 8-week cobblestone-mat walking activity (n = 22) or a control group (n = 18). Cobblestone-mat walking entailed three 45-min sessions per week. Primary outcomes included SF-12 (mental, physical), instrumental activities of daily living (IADLs), psychophysical well-being, daytime sleepiness, and pain. Secondary outcomes included resting blood pressure and perceived control of falls. The walkers experienced significantly improved SF-12 scores, IADLs, and psychophysical well-being and significantly reduced daytime sleepiness and pain. They also reported significantly improved perceptions of control over falls. A significant between-groups difference in resting diastolic blood pressure was observed, with reductions in the walkers. A significant within-group reduction in systolic blood pressure was observed in the walkers only. The data indicate that cobblestone-mat walking can significantly improve health-related outcomes in older adults.

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K. John Fisher, Fuzhong Li, Yvonne Michael and Minot Cleveland

There is a need for greater understanding of setting-specific influences on physical activity to complement the predominant research paradigm of individual-centered influences on physical activity. In this study, the authors used a cross-sectional multilevel analysis to examine a range of neighborhood-level characteristics and the extent to which they were associated with variation in self-reported physical activity among older adults. The sample consisted of 582 community-dwelling residents age 65 years and older (M = 73.99 years, SD = 6.25) recruited from 56 neighborhoods in Portland, OR. Information collected from participants and neighborhood data from objective sources formed a two-level data structure. These hierarchical data (i.e., individuals nested within neighborhoods) were subjected to multilevel structural-equation-modeling analyses. Results showed that neighborhood social cohesion, in conjunction with other neighborhood-level factors, was significantly associated with increased levels of neighborhood physical activity. Overall, neighborhood-level variables jointly accounted for a substantial variation in neighborhood physical activity when controlling for individual-level variables.

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Fuzhong Li, K. John Fisher and Ross C. Brownson

The article reports on a multilevel analysis conducted to examine change in neighborhood walking activity over a 12-month period in a community-based sample of 28 neighborhoods of 303 older adults age 65 and over. The study employed a multilevel (residents nested within neighborhoods) and longitudinal (4 repeated measures over 1 year) design and a multilevel analysis of change and predictors of change in neighborhood walking activity. Results indicated a significant neighborhood effect, with neighborhood-level walking characterized by a downward trajectory over time. Inclusion of baseline variables using selected perceived neighborhood-level social- and physical-environment measures indicated that neighborhoods with safe walking environments and access to physical activity facilities had lower rates of decline in walking activity. The findings provide preliminary evidence of neighborhood-level change and predictors of change in walking activity in older adults. They also suggest the importance of analyzing change in physical activity in older adults from a multilevel or macrolevel framework.

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Fuzhong Li, Edward McAuley, Peter Harmer, Terry E. Duncan and Nigel R. Chaumeton

The article describes a randomized, controlled trial conducted to examine the effects of a Tai Chi intervention program on perceptions of personal efficacy and exercise behavior in older adults. The sample comprised 94 low-active, healthy participants (mean age = 72.8 years. SD = 5.1) randomly assigned to either an experimental (Tai Chi) group or a wait-list control group. The study length was 6 months, with self-efficacy responses (barrier, performance efficacies) assessed at baseline, at Week 12, and at termination (Week 24) of the study. Exercise attendance was recorded as an outcome measure of exercise behavior. Random-effects models revealed that participants in the experimental group experienced significant improvements in self-efficacy over the course of the intervention. Subsequent repeated-measures ANOVA revealed that participants’ changes in efficacy were associated with higher levels of program attendance. The findings suggest that self-efficacy can be enhanced through Tai Chi and that the changes in self-efficacy are likely to improve exercise adherence.

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Fuzhong Li, Peter Harmer, K. John Fisher, Junheng Xu, Kathleen Fitzgerald and Naruepon Vongjaturapat

The primary objective of this study was to provide preliminary evaluation of the feasibility, safety, and efficacy of a newly developed Tai Chi-based exercise program for older adults with Parkinson’s disease (PD). Using a one-group pretest-posttest design, 17 community-dwelling adults (mean age 71.51 years) with mild to moderate idiopathic PD (Stage I, II, or III on the Hoehn and Yahr scale) and stable medication use completed a 5-day, 90-min/day Tai Chi exercise-evaluation program. Outcome measures included face-to-face exit interviews on appropriateness and safety and physical performance (i.e., 50-ft speed walk, up-and-go, functional reach). At the end of this brief intervention, exercise adherence was 100% and the program was shown to be safe. Exit interviews indicated that the program was well received by all participants with respect to program appropriateness, participant satisfaction and enjoyment, and intentions to continue. Furthermore, a significant pretest-to-posttest change was observed at the end of the 5-day program in all three physical-performance measures (p < .05). The results of this pilot evaluation suggest that Tai Chi is an appropriate physical activity for older adults with PD and might also be useful as a therapeutic exercise modality for improving and maintaining physical function. These preliminary findings warrant further investigation.

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Fuzhong Li, K. John Fisher, Adrian Bauman, Marcia G. Ory, Wojtek Chodzko-Zajko, Peter Harmer, Mark Bosworth and Minot Cleveland

Over the past few years, attention has been drawn to the importance of neighborhood influences on physical activity behavior and the need to consider a multilevel analysis involving not only individual-level variables but also social-and physical-environment variables at the neighborhood level in explaining individual differences in physical activity outcomes. This new paradigm raises a series of issues concerning systems of influence observed at different hierarchical levels (e.g., individuals, neighborhoods) and variables that can be defined at each level. This article reviews research literature and discusses substantive, operational, and statistical issues in studies involving multilevel influences on middle-aged and older adults’ physical activity. To encourage multilevel research, the authors propose a model that focuses attention on multiple levels of influence and the interaction among variables characterizing individuals, among variables characterizing neighborhoods, and across both levels. They conclude that a multilevel perspective is needed to increase understanding of the multiple influences on physical activity.