Research Study Abstract

Longitudinal relationships between physical activity enjoyment and behavior differ between women and men

  • Presented on May 21, 2014

Purpose: While gender differences in physical activity levels have been well documented in the literature, reasons contributing to lower activity levels in females in adulthood are not completely known. One potential mechanism to consider is differences in enjoyment of physical activity. The primary purpose of the study was to examine the longitudinal directional relationships between physical activity behavior and enjoyment among men and women.

Methods: Baseline and six month follow-up data were examined from 117 physically inactive adults (mean age = 41, SD = 9.8, 71.3% women, 30.4% Hispanic) living in Southern California. Enjoyment of moderate to vigorous physical activity (MVPA) was measured at each wave using a 6-item scale. MVPA was measured using a waist-worn Actigraph GT2M accelerometer for a period of seven days at each wave. The data was analyzed using a two-group two time-point latent change score structural equation model with cross-lags.

Results: Results found that enjoyment of physical activity at time 1 was not related to change in MVPA at time 2 (β = 1.05, p>0.05) for both genders. However, greater MVPA at time 1 was associated with a greater positive change in enjoyment of physical activity at time 2 (β=0.18, p<0.05) among women but not men (β=-0.01, p>0.05).

Conclusions: These findings may have implications to future behavioral interventions targeting women’s physical activity, suggesting that encouraging inactive women to try physical exercise could provide a gateway to dispelling preconceived negative notions and attitudes toward physical activity.

Presented at

ISBNPA 2014 Annual Conference