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Ching-Yi Wang, Ching-Fan Sheu and Elizabeth Protas

The purpose of this study was to test the construct validity of the hierarchical levels of self-reported physical disability using health-related variables and physical-performance tests as criteria. The study participants were a community-based sample of 368 adults age 60 years or older. These older adults were grouped into 4 levels according to their physical-disability status (able, mildly disabled, moderately disabled, and severely disabled groups) based on their self-reported measures on the mobility, instrumented activity of daily living (IADL), and activities of daily living (ADL) domains. Health-related variables (body-mass index, number of comorbidities, depression status, mental status, and self-perceived health status) and eight performance-based tests demonstrated significant group differences. Self-reported measures of physical disability can be used to categorize older adults into different stages of physical functional decline.

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Eric J. Sprigings, Denise S. Stilling and L. Glen Watson

The purpose of this study was to develop a springboard model that could be used to predict, in future diving simulation studies, the vertical interaction forces between a diver’s feet and the board during the time of board depression and recoil. To achieve this, the characteristic parameters (effective mass, stiffness, and damping) for a Duraflex springboard were first examined using a finite element approach. The finite element results indicated that a linear model, consisting of a lumped mass and spring, could be used to simulate the actual dynamic behavior of a springboard system. The effects of damping on the board’s motion were found to be negligible and could safely be ignored. The values for the model’s parameters (board stiffness and effective board mass) were determined empirically and are reported in this paper.

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Judy D. Goss

The personality construct of hardiness has been introduced as a moderator in the stress-illness relationship. Hardy individuals are thought to alter their appraisal of stress into a less stressful form. Mood disturbances have been found to be a product of intensive physical training. This investigation examines the relationships between hardiness and mood disturbances in swimmers who are overtraining and between hardiness, mood disturbances, and coping behaviors. Swimmers (N=253) from eight universities and seven competitive club programs completed the Cognitive Hardiness Inventory, the Profile of Mood States, the Everly Coping Scale, and the Marlowe-Crowne Social Desirability Scale at the beginning of their competitive season, and at two 7-week intervals. Hardy swimmers experienced fewer mood disturbances during the season than nonhardy swimmers. Specifically, hardy swimmers had lower feelings of tension, depression, anger, fatigue, confusion, and higher feelings of vigor. Hardy swimmers also possessed more adaptive coping behaviors.

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C. Jessie Jones, Carter Rakovski, Dana Rutledge and Angela Gutierrez

Purpose:

To compare fitness of women with fibromyalgia syndrome (FMS) aged 50+ with performance standards associated with functional independence in late life.

Methods:

Data came from a longitudinal study tracking physical and cognitive function of 93 women with FMS and included the most recent symptoms, activity levels, and fitness assessments.

Results:

Most women performed below criterion-referenced fitness standards for all measures. Nearly 90% percent of those < 70 years scored below the standard for lower body strength. Only ~20% of respondents < 70 years old met the criteria for aerobic endurance. A third of those aged over 70 met the standard in agility and dynamic balance. Physical activity was positively associated with fitness performance, while pain and depression symptoms were negatively associated.

Discussion:

High proportions of women with FMS do not meet fitness standards recommended for maintaining physical independence in late life, indicating a risk for disability. Regular fitness assessments and targeted exercise interventions are warranted.

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Eric E. Hall and Steven J. Petruzzello

Physical activity has been consistently linked to better mental health—greater positive affect and life satisfaction, less negative affect, anxiety, and depression (Petruzzello et al., 1991; McAuley & Rudolph, 1995). Brain activation patterns have been linked to dispositional affect: greater relative left anterior hemisphere activation relates to positive affect, and greater relative right anterior activation relates to negative affect (Davidson, 1992). In this study, measures of resting EEG frontal asymmetry, dispositional affect, and physical activity were obtained from 41 older adults. Frontal asymmetry significantly predicted positive affect. In the high active group (n = 21), frontal asymmetry significantly predicted affective valence and satisfaction with life; in the low active group (n = 20), it significantly predicted negative affect. Physical activity was also significantly related to better dispositional affect. These findings suggest that the relationship between frontal brain activity and dispositional affect is influenced by physical activity in older adults.

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Anne O. Brady, Chad R. Straight and Ellen M. Evans

The aging process leads to adverse changes in body composition (increases in fat mass and decreases in skeletal muscle mass), declines in physical function (PF), and ultimately increased risk for disability and loss of independence. Specific components of body composition or muscle capacity (strength and power) may be useful in predicting PF; however, findings have been mixed regarding the most salient predictor of PF. The development of a conceptual model potentially aids in understanding the interrelated factors contributing to PF with the factors of interest being physical activity, body composition, and muscle capacity. This article also highlights sex differences in these domains. Finally, factors known to affect PF, such as sleep, depression, fatigue, and self-efficacy, are discussed. Development of a comprehensive conceptual model is needed to better characterize the most salient factors contributing to PF and to subsequently inform the development of interventions to reduce physical disability in older adults.

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Pamela E. Toto, Ketki D. Raina, Margo B. Holm, Elizabeth A. Schlenk, Elaine N. Rubinstein and Joan C. Rogers

This single-group repeated-measures pilot study evaluated the effects of a 10-wk, multicomponent, best-practice exercise program on physical activity, performance of activities of daily living (ADLs), physical performance, and depression in community-dwelling older adults from low-income households (N = 15). Comparison of pretest and posttest scores using a one-tailed paired-samples t test showed improvement (p < .05) for 2 of 3 ADL domains on the Activity Measure–Post Acute Care and for 6 physical-performance measures of the Senior Fitness Test. Repeated-measures ANOVA revealed significant main effects for 3 of 8 physical activity measures using the Yale Physical Activity Scale. Retention rate was 78.9%, and the adherence rate for group sessions was 89.7%. Results suggest that participation in a multicomponent, best-practice physical activity program may positively affect sedentary, community-dwelling older adults’ physical activity, ADL performance, and physical performance.

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Jiska Cohen-Mansfield, Marcia S. Marx and Jack M. Guralnik

This study aimed to ascertain perceived barriers and motivators to exercise in people age 74–85 and to clarify the meaning of these barriers and motivators by examining participant characteristics that relate to them. 324 community-dwelling participants age 74–85 completed a health questionnaire that included items on barriers and motivators to exercise, as well as questions on demographic variables, health, and exercise. Selected participants then completed a physical-performance battery to measure functional performance. Barriers and motivators were related internally, as well as to many other factors including pain and depressed affect on the Geriatric Depression Scale. The findings suggest a need for individualized and comprehensive approaches to the presentation of exercise programs. Health interventions are needed that will address both physical pain and depressed affect and explain the importance of exercise even in the presence of health problems. An understanding of the context of reported barriers and motivators is necessary for correct interpretation and program development.

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Allan J. Rowley, Daniel M. Landers, L. Blaine Kyllo and Jennifer L. Etnier

The Profile of Mood States (POMS) is commonly used to measure mental health in athletes. Athletes scoring below norms on scales of tension, depression, confusion, anger, and fatigue, and above norms on vigor, are said to possess a positive profile that graphically depicts an iceberg. However, the predictive power of the iceberg profile has recently been questioned. A meta-analysis was conducted on 33 studies comparing the POMS scores of athletes differing in success to estimate the magnitude of the findings. The overall effect size was calculated to be 0.15. Although this value was significantly different from zero, the amount of variance accounted for was less than 1%. The results suggest that across many different sports and levels of performance, successful athletes possess a mood profile slightly more positive than less successful athletes. However, with such a small and nonrobust effect, the utility of the POMS in predicting athletic success is questionable.

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Yoshiko Yoshioka, Takashi Umeda, Shigeyuki Nakaji, Arata Kojima, Masaru Tanabe, Noriko Mochida and Kazuo Sugawara

We examined gender-related differences in the psychological response to weight reduction in 43 judoists. Twenty-two males and 8 females who required weight reduction [weight reduction (WR) group] (the average percentages of weight reduction observed for males and females were 3.4% and 4.9%, respectively), and 5 males and 8 females who did not require weight reduction (non-WR group). The POMS scores were measured before and after weight reduction. The TMD (total mood disturbance) score in POMS significantly increased after weight reduction only in WR group males. In the female WR group, the anger and depression scores decreased after weight reduction, and the pre-value of the TMD score in this group was relatively high. The psychological stress may be caused by anxiety engendered by the overall concept of weight reduction before actual weight reduction in females, whereas in males it may be caused by the actual weight reduction.