April 2, 2012
PSYCHOLOGY OF PHYSICAL ACTIVITY AND HEALTH
Lecture 1: Introduction to Psychology of Health and Physical Activity
Methods of Knowing
1. Scientific Method
2. Systematic Observation
3. Case study
4. Shared public experience
5. Introspection (Examining your thoughts or feelings)
6. Intuition (immediate apprehension of knowledge in Don’t Know the
absence of a conscious rational process)
Nonscientific methods of knowing
1. Tenacity: Clinging to beliefs such as superstitions
2. Intuition: Commonsense or self-evident truths
3. Authority: Accepting the authority’s truth
4. Rationalistic Method: Logic
Objectives of Science
1. Description – portraying an accurate picture of the phenomenon under study.
2. Explanation – determine why a phenomenon exists or what causes it.
3. Prediction – anticipation of an event prior to its occurrence.
4. Control – ability to manipulate the antecedent conditions that determine the
occurrence of a given event.
1. Developing the problem
2. Formulating the hypothesis
3. Gathering the data
4. Analyzing and interpreting results
1. Developing the Problem
Includes clearly identifying independent and dependent variables.
-Independent variable: the variable that is manipulated.
-Dependent variable: the variable that is affected by the independent variable. 2
2. Formulating the Hypothesis
Hypothesis: the expected result or prediction
e.g. We expect the younger adolescent athletes will require more extrinsic motivation
than older adolescent athletes.
Hypothesis must be “testable”.
3. Gathering the Data
Methods must maximize internal and external validity
Internal validity: the extent to which results of an investigation can be attributed to the
External validity: the extent to which results can be generalized within the real world.
4. Analyzing and Interpreting Results
Interpret results to:
-support or refute hypothesis
-compare with other research, theories or other sources of information
Researchers must be cautious to avoid over-generalizing results
Not manipulating an independent variable
1. Qualitative methods: e.g. interviews
2. Naturalistic observations
3. Participant observation
Methods of Study
1. Longitudinal design
2. Cross sectional design
Longitudinal and Cross-sectional Designs
Group A Group A Group A
1 yr 2 yr 3 yr
3 yr 3
Cross sectional Designs
-Can observe age differences
-Assume change (not observed)
-Change can be observed across ages
-repeated testing = training effects
-Provide the framework for ideas and are the basis for their implementation.
-Defined as a summary of known facts and assumptions that serves to organize
information in a meaningful way.
-Theories are not designed to answer all questions related to development, et each makes
some contribution to our knowledge base. E.g. Freud
What is Sport and Exercise Psychology?
Sport Psychology Exercise Psychology Health Psychology
“Sport and exercise psychology: branch of sport and exercise science that involves the
scientific study of human behaviour in sport and exercise and the practical application of
the knowledge in sport and exercise settings.” 4
Lecture 2: Exercise and Psychological Health
Why is exercise healthy?
Some physiological benefits:
-Increased production of endorphins
-Improved bone density
-Improved strength and flexibility
Psychosocial benefits include:
-Feel less stressed and anxious
-Better work performance
-More positive self-concept
Benefits of physical activity – Long term and short term
Broader views of PA Benefits
-encourages family/community connectedness
-improves social skills/networks
-reduces isolation, loneliness
-enhances self-esteem, confidence
Physical and mental benefits:
-improves quality of life
-reduces risk of chronic diseases
-develops motor skills
-improves concentration, enhances memory & learning
-reduces traffic congestion
-reduces air pollution
-reduces greenhouse emissions
-reduces noise pollution
-creates safer places with people out and about
-becomes a means of transport 5
-supports local businesses
-reduces health savings
How much PA is necessary?
-30 mins or more of moderate intensity PA performed on most days of the week. (ACSM
Health benefits are related to effort:
-Additional benefits are associated with increased intensity or duration of the activity
-Suggests 30 min only useful to reduce risk of CVD, DM, cancer
-Recommendation for maintenance of healthy body weight
-1 hr moderate intensity on most days of the week
-Particularly for people with sedentary occupations
Canada’s Physical Activity Guide:
-Recommends that to achieve health benefits, adults need to accumulate 30-60 mins of
PA most days of the week, preferably every day.
-There should be a mix of endurance activities, flexibility activities, and strength
The State of Active Living in Canada
-Epidemiological data indicate that only 37% of Canadian adults participate in regular
-63% of the population can be classified as sedentary
Sedentary lifestyles –Similar in US
25% over 18 yrs old engaging in moderate PA at least 5 days /week
16.5% vigorous activity
45% insufficient activity
25% no leisure time PA
Are people aware of Benefits of PA?
Inactive people agree with active people that PA can be used to:
-control body weight
-be more healthy
-improve physical appearance
-meet people 6
Yet they don’t exercise!