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Identity Crises in North American Sport Psychology: Academics in Professional Issues

Rod K. Dishman

Recent views of professional concerns facing sport psychology have not addressed academic dimensions of service delivery. The perspective developed in this paper suggests that defining sport psychology by what sport psychologists do or by who offers services may permit, but cannot ensure, professional competence. The assumption is made that in order for a field of study to sanction applied services it must possess an applied body of knowledge and a reliable technology. The current availability of these for sport is not clear. It is proposed that an acceleration is needed in development of applied technology and theory through creation of sport psychology models rather than exclusive reliance on applying clinical or educational models borrowed from general psychology. It is also proposed that errors associated with available techniques be better defined. Scientific cautions are re-emphasized in the hope that issues over professional services not overshadow the need for a reciprocity between applied questions and theoretical attempts at answering them.

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Evidence for the Construct Validity of Self-Motivation as a Correlate of Exercise Adherence in French Older Adults

Nathalie André and Rod K. Dishman


Exercise adherence involves a number of sociocognitive factors that influence the adoption and maintenance of regular physical activity. Among traitlike factors, self-motivation is believed to be a unique predictor of persistence during behavior change. The aim of this study was to validate the factor structure of a French version of the Self-Motivation Inventory (SMI) and to provide initial convergent and discriminant evidence for its construct validity as a correlate of exercise adherence.


Four hundred seventy-one elderly were recruited and administered the SMI-10. Structural equation modeling tested the relation of SMI-10 scores with exercise adherence in a correlated network that included decisional balance and perceived quality of life.


Acceptable evidence was found to support the factor validity and measurement equivalence of the French version of the SMI-10. Moreover, self-motivation was related to exercise adherence independently of decisional balance and perceived quality of life, providing initial evidence for construct validity.

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Periodic Change in Sufficient Physical Activity: A 2-Year Study of a Multi-Ethnic Cohort

Rod K. Dishman and Claudio Nigg


Measuring the way people vary across time in meeting recommended levels of physical activity is a prerequisite to quantifying exposure in outcome studies or identifying determinants of sufficient physical activity. The study determined whether distinct patterns of change in sufficient physical activity could be identified in a population.


A cohort (N = 497) from a random, multiethnic sample of adults living in Hawaii was assessed every 6 months for 2 years beginning spring 2004. Latent transition analysis classified people as sufficiently or insufficiently active each time.


In the total cohort, odds that people would move from insufficient to sufficient activity (45% to 59%) at each 6-month transition were higher than odds they would move from sufficient to insufficient activity (8% to 13%). However, those odds, as well as types and amounts of physical activity, differed widely among and within 3 of 4 transition classes that represented 21% of the cohort.


Point-prevalence of sufficient physical activity in the total cohort was similar to contemporary U.S. estimates. However, physical activity varied between and within subgroups of the cohort. Further research is needed using self-report and objective measures to determine patterns of change in sufficient physical activity in other representative cohorts.

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Psychobiologic Influences on Exercise Adherence

Rod K. Dishman and Larry R. Gettman

A 20-week behavioral study was conducted involving adult males (N = 66) in programs of cardiovascular and muscular endurance training. The relationship between exercise adherence and selected psychological and biological variables was examined as was the ability of these variables to discriminate between exercise adherers and dropouts. Results indicated that percent body fat, self-motivation, and body weight discriminated (p < .05) between eventual adherers and dropouts. When combined within a psychobiologic prediction model, these variables accurately classified actual adherers and dropouts in approximately 80% of all cases and accounted for nearly 50% of the variance in adherence behavior. In addition, participants symptomatic with regard to coronary heart disease adhered for a shorter period of time (p < .01) than did those who were asymptomatic. Results did not support theoretical expectations related to the roles of attitude toward physical activity, self-perceptions of physical ability, or locus of health control in the adherence process. These data suggest that the assessment of self-motivation and body composition may substantially enhance the initial diagnosis of the dropout-prone exercise participant and may ultimately assist in adherence facilitation.

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Physical Activity and Depression in the Elderly

Patrick J. O’Connor, Louis E. Aenchbacher III, and Rod K. Dishman

Exercise is often recommended to elderly persons for enhancing both physical and mental health. This paper reviews the scientific evidence relating physical activity and reduced depression in the elderly. Population based studies and experimental investigations are summarized and critically evaluated. Included is a discussion of some unique challenges that must be met in order for the relationship between depression and physical activity in the elderly to be adequately studied. The weight of the available population based survey evidence, on noninstitutionalized elderly only, suggests a moderate relationship between self-reported physical inactivity and symptoms of depression. However, there is no compelling experimental evidence that exercise per se is effective in preventing or treating depressive disorders in the elderly. Suggestions aimed at improving future research in this area are offered.

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The Factorial Validity of the Physical Estimation and Attraction Scales for Adults

Margaret J. Safrit, Terry M. Wood, and Rod K. Dishman

Sonstroem's psychological model for physical activity offers a testable theory for understanding certain aspects of involvement and outcomes among adolescent boys. The usefulness of the model for other populations cannot be clarified, however, until the psychometric properties of its technology, the Physical Estimation and Attraction Scales (PEAS), are known for the groups studied. As a step in this direction, the factorial validity of PEAS responses among college males (N = 488) and females (N = 347) was examined. An independent group of college females (N =413) was also sampled to examine the general ability of the initial findings. These results revealed a robust factor of items that apparently tap perceptions of general physical competence and a perceived strength factor. These emerged across samples and analyses and were not gender-specific. Investigators using the PEAS with adult populations should consider its unique factor structure in the process of testing Sonstroem's physical activity model. Psychometric research regarding revision of the PEAS for adult populations is recommended with the aim of reducing instrument length while maintaining construct validity and measurement precision.

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Personal, Social, and Environmental Influences on Physical Activity in Groups of Children As Defined by Different Physical Activity Patterns

Ruth P. Saunders, Rod K. Dishman, Marsha Dowda, and Russell R. Pate

Background: Interventions promoting physical activity (PA) in youth have had limited success, in part because studies with methodological challenges have yielded an incomplete understanding of personal, social, and environmental influences on PA. This study described changes in these factors for subgroups of youth with initially high PA that decreased (Active-Decline) compared with children with initially low PA that decreased (Inactive-Decline) from fifth to ninth grades. Methods: Observational, prospective cohort design. Participants (n = 625) were fifth-grade children recruited in 2 school districts and followed from elementary to high school. Students and their parents responded to questionnaires to assess personal, social, and perceived physical environmental factors in the fifth (mean age = 10.5 [.5] y) and ninth (mean age = 14.7 [.6] y) grades. Analyses included a mixed-model 2-way repeated analysis of variances. Results: Children in the Active-Decline compared with those in the Inactive-Decline group showed a more favorable profile in 6 of 8 personal variables (perceived barriers, self-efficacy, self-schema, enjoyment, competence, and fitness motives) and 4 of 6 social variables (friend support, parent encouragement, parent support, and parent-reported support). Conclusions: The results suggest efforts to promote PA should target selected personal, social, and perceived environmental factors beginning before age 10 and continuing through adolescence.

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Perceptions of the Neighborhood Environment and Children’s Afterschool Moderate-to-Vigorous Physical Activity

Samantha McDonald, Marsha Dowda, Natalie Colabianchi, Dwayne Porter, Rod K. Dishman, and Russell R. Pate

Previous research suggests the neighborhood environment may be an important influence on children’s physical activity (PA) behaviors; however, findings are inconsistent. The purpose of this study was to further understand the relationship between perceptions of the neighborhood environment and children’s afterschool moderate-to-vigorous PA. Utilizing a structural equation modeling technique, we tested a conceptual model linking parent and child perceptions of the neighborhood environment, parent support for PA, and child outdoor PA with children’s afterschool moderate-to vigorous PA. We found that child perception of the neighborhood environment and outdoor PA were positively associated with afterschool moderate-to-vigorous PA. In addition, parent support for PA positively influenced children’s outdoor PA. The neighborhood environment and outdoor activity appear to play an influential role on children’s afterschool PA behaviors.

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Longitudinal Associations Between Psychosocial, Home, and Neighborhood Factors and Children’s Physical Activity

Marsha Dowda, Ruth P. Saunders, Natalie Colabianchi, Rod K. Dishman, Kerry L. McIver, and Russell R. Pate

Background: Physical activity (PA) provides important health benefits to children, and a large percentage of children’s PA occurs at home. The purpose of this study was to examine the associations between psychosocial, home, and neighborhood environmental factors and children’s reported PA at home and in the neighborhood, during the transition from elementary to high school. Methods: A total of 555 participants (44% boys) were recruited in grade 5 and followed through grades 6, 7, and 9. Children self-reported PA in 3 locations—at home, in the neighborhood, and on the street. Children reported parent support and neighborhood environment, parents reported PA equipment, and a windshield survey assessed incivilities and outside PA equipment. Longitudinal Poisson models evaluated the relationships between environmental variables and 3 self-reported PA variables, adjusting for gender, race/ethnicity, and parent education. Results: Parent support and PA equipment were significant positive predictors of home PA. Child’s perceived environment (positive) and incivilities (negative) were significant predictors of neighborhood PA. Parental support, perceived environment, and outside PA equipment were positive significant predictors of street PA. Conclusions: This study supports the need for both family and community/neighborhood PA interventions that encourage parents to support child PA and for communities to reduce incivilities.