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Susan S. Levy

Using a qualitative design, the purpose of this study was to investigate the personal meaning of competition to the female mountain bike racer. Interviews were conducted with nine female mountain bike racers of varying levels of experience, and were designed to elicit information relevant to the athlete’s understanding of her experience of competition, as well as, the personal meaning she attached to that experience. The codification of participant responses resulted in the identification of eight main themes including self-fulfillment, perceived competence, social support and camaraderie, health and fitness, joy of the experience, focus and self-control, external benefits derived from racing, and goal-direction. The findings of the study were, in general, supportive of the components of meaning posited by Personal Investment Theory (Maehr & Braskamp, 1986). Practical implications from this study include developing strategies for increasing the meaningfulness of the competitive experience for females in order to promote participation in physical activity.

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Young-Shin Lee and Susan S. Levy

Objectives:

To examine physical activity (PA) in multiple contexts (household, walking, and leisure-time PA) and blood pressure (BP) across gender and income among older adults living independently.

Methods:

A convenience sample of 372 older adults completed 2 BP measurements and PA questionnaires.

Results:

Older adults with high incomes (≥$30,000) engaged in less household activity, more leisure time PA and better controlled their BP than those with low incomes (<$30,000). Men walked more than women. Older women in the low-income group had less controlled BP than those women in the high-income group. Participants with normal or controlled BP were engaged in more household and walking activities than those with uncontrolled BP.

Conclusion:

Findings suggest that older men and women at high or low-income levels have different mode of PA and BP management that should be considered for intervention strategies.

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Katie J. Thralls and Susan S. Levy

While physical activity (PA) improves functions for activities of daily living, little is known of the association between meeting published PA Guidelines for Americans (PAGA) and meeting published physical function guidelines for maintaining independence. The purpose of this study was to examine the association between meeting the PAGA and meeting independence criteria on the Senior Fitness Tests (SFT). Older adults (N = 265) completed SFTs, assessing cardiorespiratory fitness, lower and upper body strength, mobility, and self-reported aerobic and resistance PA. Chi-square tests and logistic regressions examined associations between meeting PAGA and SFT independence criteria. A significant relationship was found between meeting aerobic PAGA and cardiorespiratory and upper body SFT criteria; a significant relationship was found between meeting resistance PAGA and upper body strength criteria. Although research suggests that PAGA are effective in maintaining fitness in older adults when PA is structured and monitored, mixed results were found for self-reported PA and SFT criteria.

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Vicki Ebbeck, Patti Lou Watkins and Susan S. Levy

This study examined possible determinants of some of the health behaviors of larger women. Specifically, it was of interest to discern if affect (depression, social physique anxiety) mediated the relationship between self-conceptions (global self-worth, perceived physical appearance) and behavior (disordered eating, physical activity). The investigation was grounded in the model of self-worth forwarded by Harter (1987). A total of 71 overweight or obese women agreed to participate in the study. Data collection involved a researcher meeting individually with each of the participants to record physical assessments as well as responses to a packet of self-report questionnaires. A series of canonical correlation analyses were then conducted to test each of the three conditions for mediation effects outlined by Baron and Kenny (1986). Results suggested that indeed the set of self-conceptions indirectly influenced the set of behaviors via the set of affect variables. Surprisingly, however, involvement in physical activity failed to contribute to the multivariate relationships. The findings further our understanding of how self-conceptions are related to behavior and highlight the value of examining multiple health behaviors in parallel.