This project addresses the current epidemic in obesity and physical inactivity among adolescents in the United States. The goal of the research is to develop effective ways of encouraging adolescents to become and remain physically active. In particular, this project is concerned with identifying adolescents who are reluctant to exercise because they have a high sensitivity to unpleasant feelings while exercising at higher intensities. Once identified, these adolescents can be targeted with an intervention that is designed to teach them to exercise at anintensity level that will generate pleasant feelings and therefore make it more likely that they will seek out opportunities to be physically active.
The specific aims of this study are to: 1) evaluate the impact of a novel intervention delivered via school-based physical education (PE) on adolescents who have a high sensitivity to exercise-induced negative affect;2) determine whether adolescents'tendency to feel uncomfortable during exercise is a stable trait that persists even in the face of an intervention;and 3) compare and contrast three alternative methods of measuring adolescents'sensitivity to exercise-induced affect. Healthy middle-school students who do not participate in team or individual competitive sports will be recruited and assessed to determine their existing predisposition toward exercise (i.e., """"""""reluctant exercisers"""""""" and """"""""latent exercisers""""""""). The assessment will be conducted using three methods that have been used to measure individuals'propensity to experience positive affect in the face of a stimulus: 1) a pencil-and-paper assessment that measures tendency to respond to a challenge with positive affect;2) electroencephalogram (EEG) to ascertain frontal cortical asymmetry;and 3) empirically assessed affective response to a standardized exercise task. Reluctant and latent exercisers will be assigned in equal numbers to one of two conditions. One condition will implement a PE-based intervention that differs from the traditional approach in that students will be instructed to exercise at an intensity that has been determined to elicit positive affect in that individual (based on baseline testing). In the other condition, students will be instructed to exercise at an intensity derived from standard formulas typically used in exercise prescriptions. It is hypothesized that the non- traditional approach will increase reluctant exercisers'enjoyment of PE and also their level of participation in physical activity outside of PE. The latter will be determined using portable monitors (accelerometers) worn at baseline, after the intervention, and again 1 year after the end of the intervention. This study is relevant to the prevention of type 2 diabetes in that it addresses the mechanisms of physical activity behavior change among adolescents. This developmental period is typically characterized by declining participation in physical activity, and thus represents a critical period for intervention. The results will increase understanding about why some adolescents remain active while others do not and will test a novel intervention that may be more effective among reluctant exercisers.

Public Health Relevance

This project is directly relevant to several of the primary causes of death and disability in the United States;specifically, heart disease, diabetes, and obesity. The goal of this project is to better understand the mechanisms of physical activity behavior change among adolescents. The study will identify reliable measures that may be used to identify adolescents at high risk for becoming sedentary and will test a novel school-based intervention for promoting physical activity among adolescents who are reluctant to be active.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK)
Research Project (R01)
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Psychosocial Development, Risk and Prevention Study Section (PDRP)
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Hunter, Christine
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University of California Irvine
Schools of Arts and Sciences
United States
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Schneider, Margaret (2018) Intrinsic Motivation Mediates the Association Between Exercise-Associated Affect and Physical Activity Among Adolescents. Front Psychol 9:1151
Karnaze, Melissa M; Levine, Linda J; Schneider, Margaret (2017) Misremembering Past Affect Predicts Adolescents' Future Affective Experience During Exercise. Res Q Exerc Sport 88:316-328
Schneider, Margaret; Schmalbach, Priel; Godkin, Sophia (2017) Impact of a personalized versus moderate-intensity exercise prescription: a randomized controlled trial. J Behav Med 40:239-248
Zelener, Jacqueline; Schneider, Margaret (2016) Adolescents and Self-Reported Physical Activity: An Evaluation of the Modified Godin Leisure-Time Exercise Questionnaire. Int J Exerc Sci 9:587-598
Grant, Arthur C; Chau, Larissa; Arya, Kapil et al. (2016) Prevalence of epileptiform discharges in healthy 11- and 12-year-old children. Epilepsy Behav 62:53-6
Schneider, Margaret; Chau, Larissa; Mohamadpour, Maliheh et al. (2016) EEG asymmetry and BIS/BAS among healthy adolescents. Biol Psychol 120:142-148
Schneider, Margaret; Schmalbach, Priel (2015) Affective Response to Exercise and Preferred Exercise Intensity Among Adolescents. J Phys Act Health 12:546-52
Schneider, Margaret (2014) Process evaluation and proximal impact of an affect-based exercise intervention among adolescents. Transl Behav Med 4:190-200