Positive youth development (PYD) is an emerging area of study and practice that targets fostering the assets of young people to avoid problem behaviors and excel in meeting diverse life challenges. This paper describes how PYD evolved from treating problem behaviors to preventing problem behaviors in at-risk youth, to more recently helping all youth thrive and excel in numerous domains. Although evidence to inform community policy and practice has emerged, there is a lack of consensus on how to define PYD, and this lack of consensus has impacted progress in PYD physical activity behavioral science. This paper recommends PYD physical activity behavioral science reject disciplinary boundaries and (a) examine the nature of person-environment interaction in the context of physical activity as the primary outcome, (b) target big-picture physical activity outcome questions, and (c) come to a consensus on the domains of physical activity behavioral science research competencies.
David A. Dzewaltowski and Richard R. Rosenkranz
Brent D. Slife
Behavioral science researchers have long acknowledged that their methods have certain technical limits: measurement errors, design restrictions, problems of inference, and other factors. Within these limits, however, many researchers have assumed that their methods provide truthful, accurate, or objective renderings of their subject matter. The problem is that the philosophical limitations of method qua method are often overlooked. Method is not a neutral tool of inquiry but a biased metatheory about how to adjudicate theories and findings. This bias is most evident in the modernist foundations for traditional science. Three modernist assumptions are described as integral to the philosophy and practice of traditional behavioral science: universalism, materialism, and atomism. For purposes of contrast and to facilitate conversation about these assumptions, three postmodern assumptions are also described: contextuality, lived experience, and radical holism. Neither set of assumptions is advocated. Rather, an evaluation of any method and its philosophy is advocated in light of the questions being asked and subject matter being investigated.
David A. Dzewaltowski, Mary McElroy, Timothy I. Musch, David C. Poole, and Craig A. Harms
Kinesiology is an academic discipline with a body of content that can be drawn on to support professions and to solve important public health problems. The Kansas State Physical Activity Systems Framework defines a new approach to structure the discipline. Central to the framework is the rejection of a kinesiology subdisciplinary approach and the adoption of an integrated “cell-to-society” systems approach. Each level of physical activity systems is addressed in undergraduate and graduate education and research. Supporting the framework are two research and education teams: exercise physiology and exercise behavioral science. These teams provide core integrated academic discipline content expertise and expertise for integrating professional application areas, such as public health. The framework has evolved over 20 years at Kansas State University, where today the Department of Kinesiology delivers high-quality extramurally-funded research; BS, MS, MPH, and PhD programs; and outreach in a cost-effective manner.
Kent A. Lorenz, Hans van der Mars, Pamela Hodges Kulinna, Barbara E. Ainsworth, and Melbourne F. Hovell
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Nicole Cramer, Miriam J. Haviland, Chuan Zhou, and Jason A. Mendoza
Background: A walking school bus (WSB) consists of students and adults walking to and from school and promotes active commuting to school. Self-efficacy (SE) and outcome expectations (OE) are behavioral constructs associated with active commuting to school. The authors sought to assess the impact of a WSB program on child SE, and parent SE, and OE. Methods: The authors conducted a cluster randomized controlled trial of a WSB intervention from 2012 to 2016 among 22 elementary schools serving racially diverse, low-income populations in Houston, TX and Seattle, WA. Surveys collected data from third- to fifth-grade students and their parents, (n = 418) child-parent dyads, before school randomization and at the school year’s end. Child surveys included 16 SE items, while parent surveys included 15 SE items and 14 OE items. Scores were averaged from responses ranging from 1 to 3. The authors compared changes in SE and OE between groups over time and accounted for clustering using linear mixed-effects models. Results: The intervention group had increases in child SE of 0.12 points (P = .03), parent SE of 0.11 points (P = .048), and parent OE of 0.09 points (P = .02) compared to controls over time. Conclusions: As hypothesized, the WSB improved child SE, parent SE, and parent OE related to active commuting to school.
Hannah Dorling, Jieg Blervacq, and Yori Gidron
Background: Effects of health education (HE) on physical activity (PA) are limited. Also, HE fails to address people’s personal barriers and social pressures. In contrast, “psychological inoculation” (PI) targets both topics. This research examined the effects of PI versus HE on PA-related barriers and on self-reported PA in 2 studies. Methods: Randomized controlled trials were employed. Study 1 (N = 20) took place in Britain, while study 2 (N = 40) in Belgium, with nonphysically active participants. PI exposed people to challenging sentences reflecting barriers concerning PA, which they had to refute. In study 1, PA barriers and self-reported PA levels were assessed before and a week after interventions. In study 2, the degree of refuting challenging sentences was estimated and the level of PA was assessed before and 2 months after interventions. Results: In study 1, in the PI condition alone, PA barriers significantly decreased and self-reported PA increased. Change in barriers correlated with posttreatment PA. In study 2, PA increased only in the PI group. Level of rejecting challenging sentences predicted PA later. Most group differences remained when controlling for baseline measures. Conclusions: PI is more effective than HE for increasing PA, and reducing its barriers is essential for this.
MinKyoung Song, Robert F. Corwyn, Robert H. Bradley, and Julie C. Lumeng
Background: Temperament activity level can serve as a proxy for nondeliberate activity and an important part of overall energy expenditure. However, little is known about any association between temperament activity level and children’s levels of moderate- to vigorous-intensity physical activity. We examined whether temperament activity level in young children is associated with moderate- to vigorous-intensity physical activity later in childhood and midadolescence. We also assessed if parenting behaviors moderate any association. Methods: Data were obtained from 799 children and their mothers involved in the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development Study of Early Child Care and Youth Development. Growth curve analyses were used to examine the relationships over time, controlling for child and parent characteristics. Results: High temperament activity level at age 4.5 was associated with higher moderate- to vigorous-intensity physical activity at age 9 (β = 5.15; SE =2.47; P < .001). The association became no longer significant after 10.2 years of age. The association was moderated by parental support for physical activity (β = −2.56; SE = 1.01; P = .01). Conclusions: Low temperament activity level in early childhood was a risk factor for low physical activity in later childhood and adolescence. Parental support for physical activity may be beneficial for children whose temperament activity level is low.
Leah M. Schumacher, J. Graham Thomas, Rena R. Wing, Hollie A. Raynor, Ryan E. Rhodes, and Dale S. Bond
Background: Exercising at a consistent versus variable time of day cross-sectionally relates to greater moderate to vigorous physical activity (MVPA) among weight loss maintainers. This study evaluated the relationships between exercise timing and both MVPA levels and habit strength, as well as stability in exercise timing, over 1 year among maintainers in the National Weight Control Registry. Methods: Participants (n = 709) completed questionnaires assessing exercise timing, MVPA, and exercise automaticity (a measure of habit) at baseline and 1-year follow-up. At each assessment, participants were labeled temporally consistent exercisers if >50% of their exercise sessions per week occurred in one time window: early morning, late morning, afternoon, or evening. Participants exercising consistently during the same window at both assessments were labeled as having stable patterns. Results: Temporally consistent exercise at baseline, regardless of its specific time, related to greater MVPA over time (Ps< .05). Approximately half of temporally consistent exercisers at baseline exhibited stable patterns. Early morning exercise and greater exercise automaticity at baseline predicted stable patterns (Ps< .005). Temporally consistent exercise, especially during the early morning, related to greater automaticity across time (Ps< .01). Conclusions: Consistent exercise timing may help maintainers accrue more MVPA. Consistent early morning exercise was most strongly related to exercise automaticity and routine stability.
Johannes Carl, Gorden Sudeck, and Klaus Pfeifer
Background: The World Health Organization’s Global Action Plan on Physical Activity 2018–2030 states that physical activity interventions should strengthen peoples’ competencies for health. Yet, frameworks that bundle pivotal competencies for a healthy and physically active lifestyle have not been extensively discussed in the past. Results: In the present article, the authors therefore present the model of Physical Activity-related Health Competence (PAHCO), an integrative structure model including the 3 areas of movement competence, control competence, and self-regulation competence. After providing a rationale for the use of the competence concept, the authors focus on implications from the PAHCO model to guide interventions for the promotion of a healthy and physically active lifestyle. The authors argue that the PAHCO model is located at the interface between health literacy and physical literacy, research areas that have gained increasing scholarly attention in recent years. In addition, PAHCO appears to be compatible with the concept of health capability because it can represent the important aspect of agency. Conclusions: The article concludes with a scientific positioning of model components and some empirical results that have been accumulated so far.
Ryan D. Burns, Yang Bai, and Timothy A. Brusseau
Background: The purpose of this study was to examine the independent and joint associations between physical activity (PA) and sports participation on academic performance variables within a representative sample of children and adolescents. Methods: Data were analyzed from the combined 2017–2018 National Survey of Children’s Health. Household addresses were randomly selected within each US state. One household parent answered health and wellness questions pertaining to one randomly selected household child (N = 37,392; 48.1% female; 6- to 17-y old). Weighted logistic regression models were employed to examine the independent and joint associations between child PA frequency and sports participation with academic performance variables, adjusting for child- and family-level covariates. Results: Child PA frequency independently associated with 37% to 46% lower odds and child sports participation independently associated with 53% lower odds of reported difficulty concentrating, remembering, or making decisions (P < .001). For children who participated in sports, PA associated with 47% to 56% lower odds of ever repeating a grade level (P = .01). Conclusions: Frequency of weekly PA and sports participation independently and negatively associated with difficulty concentrating, remembering, and making decisions, whereas the negative association between PA and ever repeating a grade level differed by child sports participation status.