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When a Note of Caution Is Not Enough: A Comment on Hausenblas, Carron, and Mack and Theory Testing in Meta-Analysis

John C. Spence

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Seasonal Variation in Physical Activity Among Children and Adolescents: A Review

Valerie Carson and John C. Spence

The purpose of this review was to examine seasonal variation in physical activity among children and adolescents. Searches were conducted of electronic databases for studies on seasonal differences in physical activity levels. A total of 35 studies, including children and adolescents between the ages of 2–19 years, were reviewed. Overall, 83% (29/35) of the studies found seasonal variation in physical activity among children and/or adolescents. The results were consistent regardless of the region, physical activity measure, or the study design but the findings were inconsistent across age categories.

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Psychological Research on Exercise and Fitness: Current Research Trends and Future Challenges

Lise Gauvin and John C. Spence

In this paper, milestones of psychological contributions to the study of exercise and fitness are summarized, the results of an archival study of empirical research published in 10 periodicals since 1990 are presented, and challenges facing researchers in this area are discussed. Psychological studies on exercise and fitness began to emerge in significant numbers in the late 1970s and have frequently been conceptualized with health outcomes in mind. Current research is published in almost equal numbers in physical activity and health periodicals, but researchers based in academic units related to physical activity publish less frequently in health-related journals. Aerobic exercise is studied more often than other types of exercise, and exercise adherence and the role of exercise for mental health are studied most frequently. Some challenges facing researchers include developing effective publication strategies, engaging in advocacy for the relevance of exercise and fitness, and bridging the gap between research and practice.

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The Effect of Exercise on Global Self-Esteem: A Quantitative Review

John C. Spence, Kerry R. McGannon, and Pauline Poon

The purpose of this study was to quantitatively review the body of research on exercise and global self-esteem (GSE). This review focuses specifically on studies using adults and also incorporates both published and unpublished works. Computer and manual searches identified 113 studies matching the selection criteria. Each study was coded according to 20 study features. A total of 128 effect sizes (d) were derived. As indicated by effect-size magnitude, participation in exercise brought about a small change in GSE (d = +0.23). Change in physical fitness and type of program were significant moderators of the effect of exercise on GSE. Larger effect sizes were observed for those who experienced significant changes in physical fitness and those participating in exercise or lifestyle programs as opposed to skills training.

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Associations Between Parent’s Perceived Neighborhood Environment and Objectively Measured Walkability With Their Children’s Physical Activity

Stephen Hunter, John C. Spence, Scott T. Leatherdale, and Valerie Carson

Background: Neighborhoods are one setting to promote children’s physical activity. This study examined associations between neighborhood features and children’s physical activity and whether season or socioeconomic status modified these associations. Methods: Parents (n = 641) of children aged 6–10 years completed the Neighborhood Environment Walkability Scale—Abbreviated. Walkability was objectively measured at 400, 800, and 1200 m around the centroid of participants’ postal codes. Children’s physical activity was measured via StepsCount pedometers and parental report. Regression analyses were performed with interaction terms for season and socioeconomic status. Multiple imputation was used primarily to triangulate the results for children with missing steps data (n = 192). Results: Higher perceived residential density and traffic hazards were significantly associated with lower squareroot transformed parental-reported physical activity and steps per day, respectively. Higher perceived aesthetics was associated with higher squareroot transformed parental-reported physical activity. Socioeconomic status modified 2 associations though they were not significant upon stratification. During winter months, better perceived infrastructure and safety for walking was associated with higher squareroot transformed parental-reported physical activity. No other significant associations emerged. Conclusion: Residential density, traffic hazards, and aesthetics are important for children’s physical activity. Few associations were modified by socioeconomic status or season. The need for objective and subjective measures of the neighborhood environment and children’s physical activity is apparent.

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Mediating Mechanisms in a Physical Activity Intervention: A Test of Habit Formation

Navin Kaushal, Ryan E. Rhodes, John T. Meldrum, and John C. Spence

Background: A recent randomized controlled trial found that an intervention focused on developing an exercise habit increased weekly minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity (MVPA) over 8 wk compared to a control group. The purpose of the current study was to test if changes in habit, as well as other behavioral strategy constructs from the Multi-Process Action Control Test, mediated between group condition and MVPA (self-report and accelerometry). Methods: Inactive new gym members (N = 94) were randomized into control or experimental (habit-building) groups. Results: No construct entirely explained mediation condition (experimental and control) and changes in MVPA measured by accelerometry. Self-report MVPA found affective judgments, behavioral regulation, and preparatory habit to be mediated between group (experimental/control conditions) and changes in behavior (β = 0.36, 95% confidence interval [.05–.78]). Conclusions: Self-reported and objectively measured behavior models demonstrated complete and partial mediation, respectively. New gym members could benefit from successful behavioral enactment by developing constructs to support habit formation.

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Validity of Tools to Measure Physical Activity in Older Adults Following Total Knee Arthroplasty

Lisa Jasper, Lauren A. Beaupre, John C. Spence, and C. Allyson Jones

Few validated tools exist for measuring physical activity following total knee arthroplasty (TKA) despite the importance of returning to sufficient levels of physical activity post-TKA to achieve health benefits. This study examined the validity of two clinical measures—the Fitbit, a commercially available personal activity monitor, and the Community Healthy Activities Model Program for Seniors (CHAMPS), a self-report questionnaire—compared with a reference standard accelerometer, the SenseWearTM Armband (SWA). At 6-month post-TKA, 47 participants wore the Fitbit and SWA for 4 days and then completed the CHAMPS. Moderate-to-good correlation was observed between the Fitbit and SWA for steps (intraclass correlation coefficient [ICC] = .79), energy expenditure (ICC = .78), and energy expenditure <3 METS (ICC = .79). Poor-to-moderate correlation was observed between the CHAMPS and SWA (ICC = .43) with the questionnaire reporting lower daily energy expenditures than the SWA. Results showed that Fitbit may be a reasonable measurement tool to measure steps and energy expenditures in older adults following TKA.

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Relationships Between Physical Activity, Boredom Proneness, and Subjective Well-Being Among U.K. Adults During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Ashley McCurdy, Jodie A. Stearns, Ryan E. Rhodes, Debbie Hopkins, Kerry Mummery, and John C. Spence

This investigation sought to examine physical activity (PA) as a potential determinant of chronic boredom and associated well-being within the context of COVID-related restrictions. A representative sample of U.K. adults (N = 1,521) completed a survey on June 1, 2020. Bivariate analyses demonstrated that individuals who met guidelines and maintained or increased PA scored higher on life satisfaction, worthwhileness, and happiness and lower on anxiety (i.e., indicators of well-being) and boredom proneness (d = 0.13–0.43). Boredom proneness was correlated with all indicators of well-being (r = .38–.54). A series of regression models revealed that PA predicted lower boredom proneness and better life satisfaction, worthwhileness, and happiness. Boredom proneness accounted for the covariance between PA and well-being. Prospective research is needed to confirm causality of the observed relationships.

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Behavior Tracking and 3-Year Longitudinal Associations Between Physical Activity, Screen Time, and Fitness Among Young Children

Morgan Potter, John C. Spence, Normand Boulé, Jodie A. Stearns, and Valerie Carson

Purpose: Understanding the correlates of children’s fitness as they develop is needed. The objectives of this study were to 1) examine the longitudinal associations between physical activity (PA), screen time (ST), and fitness; 2) determine if sex moderates associations; and 3) track PA and ST over 3 years. Methods: Findings are based on 649 children [baseline = 4.5 (0.5) y; follow-up = 7.8 (0.6) y] from Edmonton, Canada. Parental-reported hour per week of PA and ST were measured at baseline and 3 years later. Fitness (vertical jump, sit and reach, waist circumference, grip strength, predicted VO2max, push-ups, and partial curl-ups) was measured using established protocols at follow-up. Sex-specific z scores or low/high fitness groups were calculated. Linear or logistic multiple regression models and Spearman correlations were conducted. Results: Baseline ST was negatively associated with follow-up grip strength [β = −0.010; 95% confidence interval (CI), −0.019 to −0.001]. Associations between baseline PA and follow-up overall fitness (β = 0.009; 95% CI, 0.002 to 0.016) were significant, whereas baseline PA and follow-up VO2max (β = 0.014; 95% CI, 0.000 to 0.027) approached significance (P < .06). No sex interactions were observed. Moderate and large tracking were observed for PA (r s = .30) and ST (r s = .53), respectively. Conclusions: PA and ST may be important modifiable correlates of overall fitness in young children.

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A Case Study of Physical Activity among Older Adults in Rural Newfoundland, Canada

Chad S.G. Witcher, Nicholas L. Holt, John C. Spence, and Sandra O’Brien Cousins

The purpose of this study was to assess rural older adults’ perceptions of leisure-time physical activity and examine these perceptions from a historical perspective. Semistructured interviews were conducted with 10 inhabitants (mean age 82 years) of Fogo Island, Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada. Interviews were transcribed verbatim and subjected to inductive analysis. Member-checking interviews were conducted with 5 participants. Findings indicated that beginning in childhood, participants were socialized into a subculture of work activity. As a result of these historical and social forces, leisure-time physical activity did not form part of the participants’ lives after retirement. Strategies for successful aging involved keeping busy, but this “busyness” did not include leisure-time physical activity. Results demonstrated the importance of developing a broader understanding of how past and present-day contexts can influence participation in leisure-time physical activity.