04 SES 06 F JS, Inclusivity within Physical Education, Physical Activity and Sport
Joint Paper Session NW 04 and NW 18
There is substantial evidence that regular physical activity and exercise is beneficial for one’s health and well-being (Biddle, Mutrie & Gorely, 2015). Physical activity levels decline rapidly with age (Kjønniksen et al., 2008) which is alarming as physical inactivity contributes to an increased risk of cardiovascular disease and several ill-health markers such as cancer (World Health Organisation [WHO], 2012). The WHO’s physical activity guideline of at least 150 minutes of moderate physical activity per-week, or 75 minutes of vigorous physical activity per-week (or a combination) is operational in an abundance of national health recommendations including the United Kingdom (UK) and Republic of Ireland (ROI). However, in a typical week 60% of European adults report engaging in no organised physical activity or sport (Teixeria et al., 2012). Furthermore, upwards of 25% of university students report that they take part in no structured physical activity during a given week (de Almedia et al., 2007).
During early adulthood (i.e. 18-25) many university students drop-out from organised sports and physical activities, and are unlikely to undertake new active pursuits later in life (Telema et al., 2008; Biddle, Mutrie and Gorely, 2015). As such, evidence indicates that many adults, and in particular university students, lack the sufficient motivation to direct their energy towards physical activity behaviours, and sustain their physical activity motivation over time (Teixeria et al., 2012). Hence, effective behaviour change interventions are needed among university students in which their environment is conductive to positive physical activity motivations. One behaviour change theory specifying motivational processes and receiving increasing supporting evidence for physical activity promotion among adults is Self-Determination Theory (Deci & Ryan, 2002).
The purpose of this unique study was to determine whether an evidenced-based physical activity programme based on self determination theory (SDT) (Deci & Ryan, 2000) can increase need satisfaction, motivation, physical activity levels, and markers of psychological wellbeing among university students two universities on the island of Ireland. This programme is unique in it has been developed from several research methods including a review of literature and testing of several SDT-based studies with other populations such as children of low SES (Breslin, Shannon et al., 2016) and university students (Authors, in press)
Methodology There were 14 Move Mentors and 70 university students across two university sites [Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland]. All Move Mentors received bespoke training and a Move Mentor Handbook to guide their practice in developing and implementing a physical activity support plan for studnets. The efficacy of the trained Move Mentor on the physical activity engagement and wellbeing of university students was measured. Therefore, the research design tested numerous mediating variables (i.e. motivation, autonomy-support) in self determination theory [SDT] with quantitative methods i.e. objective measures of physical activity and measured of psychological wellbeing. Specific data collection tools included: (a) Assessment of Physical Activity: International Physical Activity Questionnaire (IPAQ, Craig et al., 2003); (b) Physical Measurements using Body Mass Index (BMI); (c) Assessment of motivation and need support/satisfaction using the Behavioural Regulations in Exercise Questionnaire (BREQ; Markland et al., 2004); and (d) Assessment of wellbeing using Keyes’ mental health continuum short-form questionnaire (Lamers et al., 2011). Data analysis comprised both descriptive statistics and grounded theory (Charmaz, 2006).
Findings showed that the support provided for students needs to be a holistic one to support physical activity. This Support plan must include sleep plan, healthy eating plan in addition to a physical activity plan. All university students receiving the programme increased their perceptions of needs-support from the trained Move Mentors, and thus increased their needs satisfaction, autonomous motivation for physical activity, in turn increased their physical activity and markers of physical and psychological well-being.
Deci, E. L., & Ryan, R. M. (2008). Hedonia, eudaimonia, and well-being: An introduction. Journal of Happiness Studies, 9(1), 1-11. Fortier, M. S., Duda, J. L., Guerin, E., & Teixeira, P. J. (2012). Promoting physical activity: Development and testing of self-determination theory-based interventions. International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity, 9(1), 20. Hagger, M. S., & Chatzisarantis, N. L. (2014). An integrated behavior change model for physical activity. Exercise and Sport Sciences Reviews, 42(2), 62-69. doi:10.1249/JES.0000000000000008 [doi] Kjønniksen, L., Torsheim, T., & Wold, B. (2008). Tracking of leisure-time physical activity during adolescence and young adulthood: A 10-year longitudinal study. International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity, 5(1), 69.
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