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Christin Lang, Anna Karina Feldmeth, Serge Brand, Edith Holsboer-Trachsler, Uwe Pühse and Markus Gerber

In most physical education (PE) syllabuses, promoting life skills constitutes an important educational objective. The aim of this study was to implement a coping training program (EPHECT) within regular PE and to evaluate its effects on coping and stress among vocational students. Eight classes from a vocational school were selected for study; four were allocated to the intervention group (IG) and four to the control group (CG). The study examined intervention effects between pre- and postintervention, and postintervention and 6-months follow-up. Compared with the CG, the IG showed improved coping skills from pre- to postintervention. From postintervention to follow-up, stress decreased for the IG. A path analysis suggests an indirect effect on stress perception at follow-up via improved adaptive coping skills. The findings support EPHECT as a positive contribution to the development of adaptive coping skills. The project further shows how physical educators can translate psychological theory into practice.

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Serge Brand, Markus Gerber, Flora Colledge, Edith Holsboer-Trachsler, Uwe Pühse and Sebastian Ludyga

While there is evidence that acute bouts of aerobic and coordinative exercise positively affect attention and executive functions, no study has focused on the impact of acute exercise on facial-emotion processing. A total of 106 adolescents (mean age 13.0 years) were randomly assigned to a group performing either an aerobic exercise session (AER), an aerobic exercise session with coordinative demands (AER+C), or stretching. Before and after the 35-min experimental session, participants completed computerized facial-emotion labeling and emotion-matching tasks. Facial-emotion labeling, but not emotion matching, increased over time, but more so in AER and AER+C conditions. When aerobic exercise is combined with coordinative demands, greater benefits seem to be elicited for some aspects of facial-emotion recognition. Results suggest a new direction for the influence of exercising on dimensions of psychological functioning, namely on emotion processing and social cognition.

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Catherine Elliot, Christin Lang, Serge Brand, Edith Holsboer-Trachsler, Uwe Pühse and Markus Gerber

This study examines how students who met the current recommendations for vigorous physical activity (VPA) of the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) and the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) differ from peers who did not reach these standards with regard to self-reported burnout, before and after controlling for light physical activity and moderate physical activity. A sample of 144 vocational students (M age = 16.2 years, SD = 1.13, 98 males) completed the International Physical Activity Questionnaire, the Shirom-Melamed Burnout Measure, and the School Burnout Inventory. Bivariate correlations revealed that only VPA was associated with reduced burnout. Both the ACSM and CDC guidelines were useful to identify significant differences in burnout symptoms between students who met versus did not meet the standards. Health policy makers should develop strategies to integrate more VPA into the lives of adolescent students so as to reach a minimum of 60 min per week.

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Tim Hartmann, Lukas Zahner, Uwe Pühse, Jardena J. Puder and Susi Kriemler

The present study tested the effect of a school-based physical activity (PA) program on quality of life (QoL) in 540 elementary school children. First and fifth graders were randomly assigned to a PA program or a no-PA control condition during one academic year. QoL was assessed by the Child Health Questionnaire at baseline and postintervention. Based on mixed linear model analyses, physical QoL in first graders and physical and psychosocial QoL in fifth graders were not affected by the intervention. In first graders, the PA intervention had a positive impact on psychosocial QoL (effect size [d], 0.32; p < .05). Subpopulation analyses revealed that this effect was caused by an effect in urban (effect size [d], 0.38; p < .05) and overweight first graders (effect size [d], 0.45; p < .05). In conclusion, a school-based PA intervention had little effect on QoL in elementary school children.