This paper addresses the appropriate unit of analysis in field research. We first discuss the issues related to this topic: (a) unit of measurement versus unit of analysis, (b) treatments and random assignment, (c) independence of observations, (d) moderating and control variables, and (e) correlational versus experimental research. We then present a model for determining the correct unit of analysis. In many instances, researchers should use class means or subgroup means, and this has implications for research design. In the third section, we discuss the related issues of (a) the burden of proof, (b) asking the right questions and getting the right answers, and (c) completing statistical analyses. How data are analyzed can affect the results, and researchers should consider these issues when planning their research.
Stephen Silverman and Melinda Solmon
Jane Chung, George Demiris and Hilaire J. Thompson
Mobility is critical in maintaining independence in older adults. This study aims to systematically review the scientific literature to identify measures of mobility limitation for community-dwelling older adults. A systematic search of PubMed, CINAHL, and psycINFO, using the search terms “mobility limitation”, “mobility disability”, and “mobility difficulty” yielded 1,847 articles from 1990 to 2012; a final selection of 103 articles was used for the present manuscript. Tools to measure mobility were found to be either self-report or performance-based instruments. Commonly measured constructs of mobility included walking, climbing stairs, and lower extremity function. There was heterogeneity in ways of defining and measuring mobility limitation in older adults living in the community. Given the lack of consistency in assessment tools for mobility, a clear understanding and standardization of instruments are required for comparison across studies and for better understanding indicators and outcomes of mobility limitation in community-dwelling older adults.
Therese Brovold, Dawn A. Skelton, Hilde Sylliaas, Morten Mowe and Astrid Bergland
The purpose of this study was to determine the relationship among health-related quality of life (HRQOL), physical fitness, and physical activity in older patients after recent discharge from hospital. One hundred fifteen independent-living older adults (ages 70–92 years) were included. HRQOL (Medical Outcomes Study 36-item Short Form Health Survey), physical activity (Physical Activity Scale for the Elderly), and physical fitness (Senior Fitness Test) were measured 2–4 weeks after discharge. Higher levels of physical activity and physical fitness were correlated with higher self-reported HRQOL. Although cause and effect cannot be determined from this study, the results suggest that a particular focus on the value of physical activity and physical fitness while in hospital and when discharged from hospital may be important to encourage patients to actively preserve independence and HRQOL. It may be especially important to target those with lower levels of physical activity, poorer physical fitness, and multiple comorbidities.
Melissa Daly, Meghan E. Vidt, Joel D. Eggebeen,, W. Greg Simpson, Michael E. Miller, Anthony P. Marsh and Katherine R. Saul
Aging leads to a decline in strength and an associated loss of independence. The authors examined changes in muscle volume, maximum isometric joint moment, functional strength, and 1-repetition maximum (1RM) after resistance training (RT) in the upper extremity of older adults. They evaluated isometric joint moment and muscle volume as predictors of functional strength. Sixteen healthy older adults (average age 75 ± 4.3 yr) were randomized to a 6-wk upper extremity RT program or control group. The RT group increased 1RM significantly (p < .01 for all exercises). Compared with controls, randomization to RT led to greater functional pulling strength (p = .003), isometric shoulder-adduction moment (p = .041), elbow-flexor volume (p = .017), and shoulder-adductor volume (p = .009). Shoulder-muscle volumes and isometric moments were good predictors of functional strength. The authors conclude that shoulder strength is an important factor for performing functional reaching and pulling tasks and a key target for upper extremity RT interventions.
Madeleine Vincent-Morin and Lucile Lafont
The goal of this study was to identify the relationships between the learning choices made by pupils and their personal characteristics, including cognitive style (field dependence–independence), a motivational variable (feeling of self-efficacy), and a cognitive variable (task representation). The participants were 64 twelve-year-old sixth graders from a suburban middle school in France (35 boys and 29 girls). Cognitive style or FDI was measured with the Group Embedded Figures Test, a perceptual test that requires finding a simple geometrical figure embedded in a complex geometrical one. Five learning conditions (autonomy, tutoring, verbal instruction, silent demonstration, and verbal demonstration) were then proposed in random order to the pupils. They were asked to select a learning method to solve a motor problem: a badminton service. The results indicated an absence of relationships between the choice of a learning condition and cognitive style. Three variables partially predicted the learning-condition choice: feeling of self-efficacy, task representation, and motor performance. The present results can be interpreted in the light of studies on children’s help-seeking behavior in problem-solving situations.
This study examines the historical significance of Jang Gwon’s activities in the sport promotion carried out by Korea’s YMCA. At its birth, the Korean YMCA’s sport promotion was closely linked with the Korean nationalist movement under Japanese colonial rule, and this link was most evident around 1920, when Jang Gwon worked as a judo master. Citing the Sokol movement in Czechoslovakia, Jang Gwon took initiatives to enlighten Korean people’s consciousness and popularize sports, including judo and basketball, across the country through the Korean YMCA’s sport promotion. In particular, Jang Gwon introduced modern judo—formally known as Gangdogwan (Kodokan judo), initiated by Jigoro Kano—in Korea and took initiatives to establish the Korean Basketball Association and the Korean Basketball Referee Association. Through the Korean YMCA’s sport promotion, Jang Gwon motivated the Korean people to aspire to liberation and independence from Japanese colonial rule. Moreover, amid the prevailing social climate, in which physical activities were discouraged due to the influence of Neo-Confucianism, he provided a paradigm shift that called for “sport for all,” which enabled the modernization of sports and physical education in Korea.
Geoffrey Whitfield, Kelley K. Pettee Gabriel and Harold W. Kohl III
Emerging evidence suggests that combined physical activity (PA) and inactivity may be more important for chronic disease risk than PA alone. A highly active yet highly sedentary population is needed to study this interaction. The present purpose is to describe the sitting habits of a group of recreational runners and determine if sitting varies with reported training duration or anticipated running velocity.
Marathon and half-marathon participants completed the Multicontext Sitting Time Questionnaire and reported peak training duration, anticipated finishing time, and demographic information. Sitting time was described across 5 contexts for workdays and nonworkdays. Total sitting time was analyzed by tertiles of training duration and anticipated event running velocity.
218 participants took part in this study. Median reported training time was 6.5 hours per week. Median total sitting time was higher on workdays than nonworkdays (645 and 480 minutes, respectively, P < .0001). Total sitting time was not associated with training duration or anticipated event running velocity.
These results suggest that recreational distance runners are simultaneously highly sedentary and highly active, supporting independence of sedentary behaviors and moderate- to vigorous-intensity PA. This population may provide the characteristics needed to study the joint effects of active and sedentary behaviors on health outcomes.
Niki Tsangaridou and Mary O’Sullivan
This research was conducted to describe the relationship between physical education teachers’ educational theories of action and theories-in-use. The question addressed was, What are the educational theories and practices of physical education teachers, and to what degree do their educational theories guide their professional practices? Data were collected through class observations, formal and informal interviews, vignette interviews, and journals. Data were analyzed inductively. Results suggested that the four teachers in this study held strong and well articulated views about student learning and what constitutes a physically educated student. They agreed that the primary goal of a physical education program was the development of skills. They believed that guided student practice was important for student learning. The selection and implementation of teaching practices demonstrated the teachers’ commitment to gender equity and the needs and abilities of their students. There were only three discrepancies between the participants’ theories of action and their theories-in-use. These related to student independence, student choice of content, and the process of cooperation and negotiation. Otherwise the teachers’ theories-in-use were consistent with their theories of action. The results from this study do not substantiate the notion of a level of discrepancy between teachers’ espoused theories and professional practices as presented in the literature (Argyris & Schon, 1974; Knight & Smith, 1989).
Molly Burger and Dennis Dolny
The purpose of this study was to examine the relationships among body mass index (BMI), body image perception, physical activity habits, and exercise stage of change in college-aged females. Volunteers (N = 134) completed a survey of demographics, Stage of Exercise Scale (SOES; Cardinal, 1995a; Cardinal, 1995b), Physical Activity History questionnaire (PAH; Jacobs, Hahn, Haskell, Pirie, & Sidney, 1989), and Body Shape Questionnaire (BSQ; Cooper, Taylor, Cooper, & Fairburn, 1987). Participants were categorized into five exercise stages of change: precontemplation, contemplation, preparation, action, and maintenance. Relationships between the variables were analyzed with Pearson r correlations. Kruskal-Wallis independence tests were also used for analyses. Approximately 60% of the participants reported current physical inactivity or irregular exercise. BMI and body image score were significantly linearly related, with higher body mass indicating more negative body image (r = 30, p <.017). Significant differences existed between exercise stages for physical activity score, X2 (3, N = 134) = 19.98, p <.05. Based upon follow-up tests participants in the maintenance stage had significantly higher physical activity scores than all other stages. No significant differences were found for BMI or body image between exercise stages. Regular exercisers had the highest frequency of disordered eating and weight-preoccupied attitudes and behaviors. The majority of these women were not currently regularly physically active, professed dissatisfaction with their current level of activity, and expressed a fear of being fat. Further study directed at specific factors related to body image and exercise behaviors, as well as the impact of stage-specific interventions are suggested.
Judy Kruger, Sandra A. Ham and Serena Sanker
Physical inactivity is associated with increased morbidity and mortality. This study provides prevalence estimates of inactivity by select characteristics among older adults.
Respondents ≥50 years of age were selected from the 2005 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (N = 185,702).
Overall, 30.0% of older adults did not engage in leisure-time physical activity. Within each racial/ethnic group, the prevalence of inactivity was highest among Hispanic men (41.9%) and women (42.4%). Among men with and without disabilities, chronic disease conditions associated with inactivity were angina or coronary artery disease. Among women with disabilities, chronic disease conditions associated with inactivity were stroke and diabetes; among women without disabilities only diabetes was significantly associated with inactivity.
Regular physical activity is an important means to maintaining independence, because it substantially reduces the risk for developing many diseases; contributes to healthy bones, muscles, and joints; and can reduce the risk for falling. Health care providers are encouraged to discuss concerns regarding physical activity with their patients.