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  • Author: Shannon L. Mihalko x
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Shannon L. Mihalko and Edward McAuley

The purpose of the present investigation was to examine (a) the effects of upper body high-intensity strength training on muscular strength, activities of daily living (ADLs), and subjective well-being within an aging population, and (b) whether changes in strength were related to subsequent changes in subjective well-being and ADLs. The main effects of the training program were significant for all five individual muscle groups examined, indicating that subjects who participated in the strength program had greater increases in muscular strength than did controls. There was limited support for the contention that strength training enhances subjective well-being and ADLs in older adults. Strength gains were related to moderate reductions in negative affect, greater satisfaction with life, and higher ADLs. Findings are discussed in terms of design and measurement improvements, the need to focus research efforts on multiple components of fitness in relation to subjective well-being, and relations among strength and ADLs in the elderly.

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Edward McAuley, Shannon L. Mihalko and Karl Rosengren

This study examined relationships among physical activity patterns, self-efficacy, balance, and fear of falling in older adults. Fifty-eight older adults (52-85 years) completed measures of physical activity, self-efficacy, and fear of falling. Subjects then performed the items found in the Berg Balance Scale (Berg, Wood-Dauphinee, Williams, & Maki, 1992). More physically active adults were less fearful of falling, had better balance, and had stronger perceptions of efficacy. Those with better balance were less fearful of falling, and females were more fearful than males. Balance and self-efficacy had significant independent effects on fear, whereas the contribution of history of physical activity was nonsignificant. The findings suggest that behavioral, social cognitive, and biological factors may be important correlates of fear of falling. Further support is provided for the utility of self-efficacy measures in the prediction of fear of falling, although reliance on any one measure to assess this construct may underestimate the role of self-efficacy.

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Clare B. Johnson, Shannon L. Mihalko and Karl M. Newell

The study reported had three purposes, namely, to analyze the effect of aging (cohort groups 20–29, 60–69, 70–79, and 80–89 years of age), step length, and self-efficacy on the time to reacquire stability after the execution of a step. The analysis of force-platform data showed that the time to reacquire a stable posture after taking a step increased with increments of age. Correlation analysis showed that older adults were less confident in their ability to complete daily activities without falling or losing balance and that participants with lower levels of balance-related efficacy required a longer time to reacquire stability. These findings provide evidence that aging imposes temporal limitations in the regaining of postural stability that are related to individuals’ perceptions of balance and falls efficacy.

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Edward McAuley, Shannon L. Mihalko and Susan M. Bane

This study was designed to examine whether the exercise environment affected individuals’ anxiety responses. Participants either sat quietly (control) or exercised in either a laboratory or a setting of their own choosing. State anxiety measures were assessed at baseline, during activity, and following 15 minutes of rest after activity. Analyses indicated that the exercising conditions significantly reduced anxiety, whereas the control condition did not. Additional analyses indicated that anxiety increased from baseline during exercise and then was reduced upon exercise cessation. The implications of these findings for the examination of acute exercise effects on psychological function are discussed.

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Anthony P. Marsh, Elizabeth A. Chmelo, Jeffrey A. Katula, Shannon L. Mihalko and W. Jack Rejeski

The purpose of this study was to determine whether a walking program supplemented by tasks designed to challenge balance and mobility (WALK+) could improve physical function more than a traditional walking program (WALK) in older adults at risk for mobility disability. 31 community-dwelling older adults (M ± SD age = 76 ± 5 yr; Short Physical Performance Battery [SPPB] score = 8.4 ± 1.7) were randomized to treatment. Both interventions were 18 sessions (1 hr, 3×/wk) and progressive in intensity and duration. Physical function was assessed using the SPPB and the 400-m-walk time. A subset of participants in the WALK group who had relatively lower baseline function showed only small improvement in their SPPB scores after the intervention (0.3 ± 0.5), whereas a subset of participants in the WALK+ group with low baseline function showed substantial improvement in their SPPB scores (2.2 ± 0.7). These preliminary data underscore the potential importance of tailoring interventions for older adults based on baseline levels of physical function.