241268 Physical activity and quality of life young adults: Examining self-efficacy, physical self-esteem and affect as mediators

Monday, October 31, 2011

Rodney P. Joseph, MA , Department of Health Behavior, University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Public Health, Birmingham, AL
Diane M. Grimley, PhD , Department of Health Behavior, UAB School of Public Health, Birmingham, AL
Background: The health and psychological benefits of Physical Activity (PA) have been well documented during the past 20 years. Recent studies suggest that regular PA may increase positive Quality of Life (QOL). In older adults, research has shown that the relationship between PA and QOL is indirect, and mediated by physical self-esteem, exercise self-efficacy, and affect. The purpose of the current study was to apply this conceptual model to a young adult population.

Methods: Data were collected on a sample of 590 undergraduate students through an anonymous questionnaire constructed of widely accepted measures to assess levels of PA, physical self-esteem, self-efficacy, affect, and QOL . Structural equation modeling was used to test the relationship between PA and QOL, with mediators of exercise self-efficacy, physical self-esteem, and affect.

Results: Results revealed the model variables accounted for 28% of the variance in QOL. In addition, PA had positive direct effects on exercise self-efficacy (b=.09, p<.001), physical self-esteem (b=.17, p<.001), and positive affect (b=.09, p<.05). Among all the mediators, physical self-esteem displayed the most powerful effects on QOL (b=.32, p<.001). Positive and negative affect also demonstrated significant effects on QOL.

Conclusions: The final model suggests that overall levels of PA had only a weak relationship with QOL, which was mediated by other cognitive/affective processes. Physical self-esteem emerged as an integral component in the link between PA and QOL. Findings indicate that health education programs focused at enhancing physical self-esteem and promoting regular PA may be effective in improving QOL in young adults.

Learning Areas:
Public health or related research
Social and behavioral sciences

Learning Objectives:
At the end of the session, the participant will be able to: discuss how physical activity influences quality of life among young adults by impacting physical self-esteem and affect. identify physical self-esteem as the most important mediator between physical activity and quality of life. describe the role physical activity can play to improve quality of life among college students, who are at higher risk for suicide and substance abuse than the general population.

Keywords: Physical Activity, Quality of Life

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I perform research on the benefits of physical activity.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.