The effects of an aerobic training program on psychological well-being

Burt, Gary E. (1982) The effects of an aerobic training program on psychological well-being. Masters thesis, Memorial University of Newfoundland.

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    Available under License - The author retains copyright ownership and moral rights in this thesis. Neither the thesis nor substantial extracts from it may be printed or otherwise reproduced without the author's permission.
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Abstract

Exercise and improvements in physical fitness have been found to correlate positively with changes in psychological well-being, particularly with regard to the variables of anxiety and depression. The present investigation attempts to distinguish between central fitness (increased cardio-respiratory functioning) and peripheral fitness (increased strength or flexibility) while considering other factors which may contribute to the psychological improvements often associated with exercise and physical fitness. -- Forty-five members of a large psychiatric hospital served as subjects for this study. Ages in the sample ranged from 21 to 55 with a mean age of 27.9. Professional and non-professional staff members were evenly represented, as was the sex distribution. -- Subjects were randomly assigned to either an Aerobic group (jogging), a Calisthenics group (calisthenics and non-aerobic exercise) or a Recreation group (non-exercise, recreational activity). A Waiting List Control group was also chosen who were not required to participate in any structured activity. -- Psychological and physiological measures were taken to evaluate the relative effects of the various conditions. Heart rate (after a standard stepping exercise) and a measure of flexibility served as physical indicators of change while standard tests of depression, trait anxiety and happiness were administered to assess psychological change. These measures were taken on three separate occasions (pre-program, mid-program and post-program). -- As an additional feature, the effect of fitness on state anxiety was evaluated. State measures were taken immediately before and immediately after sessions on three occasions (at the first session, the middle session and at the end). -- The experimental program ran for 6 weeks with 3 one-half hour sessions per week (for a total of 18 sessions). -- Physical changes occurred as expected. The joggers made the most significant gains in cardio-respiratory fitness while the calisthenics subjects became more flexible. Unexpectedly, all groups (including the Waiting List subjects) improved significantly over time on the psychological measures, but a conditions or interaction effect was not observed. More consistent with earlier work, subjects who became more fit (based on the aerobic indicator) were observed to have greater decreases in state anxiety after engaging in an activity, than those who made marginal or no gains in cardio-respiratory fitness. -- The implications of these results were discussed with reference to earlier experimental findings.

Item Type: Thesis (Masters)
URI: http://research.library.mun.ca/id/eprint/7784
Item ID: 7784
Additional Information: Bibliography: leaves 41-44.
Department(s): Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of > Psychology
Science, Faculty of > Psychology
Date: 1982
Date Type: Submission
Library of Congress Subject Heading: Exercise--Psychological aspects; Exercise therapy

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