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Psychosocial Determinants of Physical Activity in a Sample of Undergraduate College Students

Shafer, Alex B. (2012) Psychosocial Determinants of Physical Activity in a Sample of Undergraduate College Students. Doctoral Dissertation, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

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It is reported that only 50.4% of males and 39.9% of females aged 18-30 years report meet the U.S. recommended guidelines for physical activity (PA), with the steepest declines occurring in young adulthood. To explain physical inactivity trends, investigators have proposed theory-based psychosocial factors or determinants for the purpose of identifying modifiable psychological barriers to PA. Purpose: The primary aim of this investigation was to explore the relation between PA and psychosocial variables of: 1) motivation (MO); 2) self-efficacy (SE); 3) social support (SS); 4) exercise enjoyment (EE); and 5) body image (BI) in young adult college students aged 18-20 years. A secondary aim was to examine whether young adult males and females differ in psychosocial predictors of PA behavior. Methods: This investigation employed a cross-sectional correlational design. Thirty-five males and 55 females ages 18-20 years were recruited to participate. The mean age was 18.7±0.7 years for the combined sample. Ninety seven percent of males and 78.2% of the females enrolled were college freshmen. Total weekly hours of PA (7-Day Physical Activity Recall) served as the dependent variable. The psychosocial predictor variables were assessed using standardized questionnaires. Results: For males, EE was significantly (p<0.05) correlated to minutes of hard, minutes of very hard, and total minutes of PA. A stepwise multiple regression analyses indicated exercise EE (R2=0.174, F(1,33)=6.949, p=0.013) was the only predictor variable that explained a significant proportion of variance for males. For females, SE, EE, MO, SS from friends, and BI were significantly correlated to minutes of PA. The combination of EE, extrinsic MO, SS from friends, and BI explained 43% of the variance in total minutes of PA in females (R2=0.426, F(4,50)=9.294, p<0.001). Conclusion: Results suggest that EE may be the most important predictor variable among those assessed in this investigation for both males and females. This is followed closely by MO, SS from friends, and BI for females. This investigation has identified gender specific trends in determinants of physical activity for the young adult college population. This is an important step to explaining physical activity behaviors in a population that is at risk for sedentary behaviors.


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Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Shafer, Alex
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Committee ChairNagle, Elizabeth F.nagle@pitt.eduNAGLE
Committee MemberGoss, Fredric L.goss@pitt.eduGOSS
Committee MemberRickman, Amy D.arickman@pitt.eduARICKMAN
Committee MemberRubinstein, Elaine N.enr@pitt.eduENR
Date: 29 August 2012
Date Type: Publication
Defense Date: 25 July 2012
Approval Date: 29 August 2012
Submission Date: 6 August 2012
Access Restriction: No restriction; Release the ETD for access worldwide immediately.
Number of Pages: 118
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: School of Education > Health and Physical Activity
Degree: PhD - Doctor of Philosophy
Thesis Type: Doctoral Dissertation
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: psychosocial determinants physical activity college students
Date Deposited: 29 Aug 2012 20:13
Last Modified: 15 Nov 2016 14:01


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