Sunday, 28 March 2010

Social Comparison theory - more resources

As I'm off to a conference this week.  Limited time to post, so as Social Comparison is one of the most frequently searched terms that Google directs to this site I thought I would update the links and resources I have come across. 

Mussweiler, T., Rüter, K., & Epstude, K. (2004). The Ups and Downs of Social Comparison: Mechanisms of Assimilation and Contrast. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 87(6), 832-844.

Suls, J., Martin, R., & Wheeler, L. (2002). Social comparison: Why, with whom, and with what effect? Current Directions in Psychological Science, 11(5), 159.

Buunk, B., Collins, R., Taylor, S., VanYperen, N., & Dakof, G. (1990). The affective consequences of social comparison: Either direction has its ups and downs. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 59(6), 1238-1249.

L. Festinger,L (1954). A theory of social comparison processes, Human Relations 1, 117–140

Buunk, A & Gibbons, F (2007). Social comparison: The end of a theory and the emergence of a field, Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes 102, 3–22.

Taylor, S., & Lobel, M. (1989). Social comparison activity under threat: Downward evaluation and upward contacts. Psychological Review, 96(4), 569-575.

Kruglanski, A., & Mayseless, O. (1990). Classic and current social comparison research: Expanding the perspective. Psychological Bulletin, 108(2), 195-208.

Buunk, B., & Mussweiler, T. (2001). New directions in social comparison research. European Journal of Social Psychology, 31(5), 467-475.

Buunk BP, Collins RL, Taylor SE, VanYperen NW, & Dakof GA (1990). The affective consequences of social comparison: either direction has its ups and downs. Journal of personality and social psychology, 59 (6), 1238-49 PMID: 2283590

Tuesday, 23 March 2010

Exercise for overweight or obesity

This report is a systematic review of the evidence on Exercise for overweight or obesity.  It's in the form of a  Cochrane Report.  The Cochrane Collaboration is an international, independent, not-for-profit organisation of over 27,000 contributors from more than 100 countries, dedicated to making up-to-date, accurate information about the effects of health care readily available worldwide.  It is a thorough review of the evidence in the area of obesity and exercise and its about as good a review as you will find anywhere.  The report is long, detailed and extremely useful.  I refer to it frequently and i'm sure i will do in the future too!  The report can be found here.

Shaw K, Gennat H, O'Rourke P, & Del Mar C (2006). Exercise for overweight or obesity. Cochrane database of systematic reviews (Online) (4) PMID: 17054187

Sunday, 21 March 2010

Physical Activity and Obesity

This article examines the role of physical activity and obesity.  It gives a useful summary of the decline of physical activity and its relevance to obesity.  It also examines the role of PA in terms of weight management and weight loss.  Hills et al. (2006) has an excellent table to illustrate where declines in physical activity in daily life may come from.

Population-wide declines in physical activity (modified from Brownson et al., 2005)

• Leisure-time physical activity: level or slightly increasing
• Work-related activity: declining
• Transportation activity: declining
• Activity in the home: declining; and
• Sedentary activity: increasing; therefore, total physical activity is declining

Hills argues that the role of increased energy expenditure through  physical activity is the key to weight loss and long term weight maintenance.The paper is available in full here .  The relationship between decline in physical activity and weight management has been covered in several previous posts.  My own favourite is Obesity in Britain: gluttony or sloth? which examines the calorific intake in the UK diet over a 20 year period and established that it has declined.  They concluded that physical activity in everyday life had declined and that this was especially the case for children.

Hills, A., & Byrne, N. (2006). State of the science: a focus on physical activity. Asia Pac J Clin Nutr, 15, 40-48.

Brownson, R., Boehmer, T., & Luke, D. (2005). Declining rates of physical activity in the United States: what are the contributors? Annual review of public health, 26, 421.  (Abstract only)

Prentice, A., & Jebb, S. (1995). Obesity in Britain: gluttony or sloth? British medical journal, 311(7002), 437

Hills AP, & Byrne NM (2006). State of the science: a focus on physical activity. Asia Pacific journal of clinical nutrition, 15 Suppl, 40-8 PMID: 16928660

Thursday, 18 March 2010

Qualitative exercise adherence studies - participants with back pain and knee pain

Slade et al. (2009) is a qualitative study on people with non-specific chronic low back pain and examines their exercise adherence.  It examines their experiences of exercise past and present and also how they felt during the research study programme.  Many of the findings are in line with expectations from people who have been unsuccessful at establishing long term exercise behaviour, low exercise self efficacy and feelings of fear and helplessness.  The participants also reported that they felt that they lacked sufficient expertise on gym equipment and all expressed a desire for better instruction and feedback of all exercises.  Its a good qualitative paper with exerts from focus group transcripts which really help to understand how some people with injuries and chronic conditions feel about exercise and physical activity.  The full paper can be found here.

Another qualitative paper from a similar population is  Hendry et al (2006) and examines the experience of people with Osteoarthiritis of the knee.  The themes of the focus groups are broadly similar and its good to read the two studies to compare the experiences of the two groups.  The Hendry study can be found here.

Slade SC, Molloy E, & Keating JL (2009). People with non-specific chronic low back pain who have participated in exercise programs have preferences about exercise: a qualitative study. The Australian journal of physiotherapy, 55 (2), 115-21 PMID: 19463082

Tuesday, 16 March 2010

Spotlight on Inactivity

A report published yesterday in the UK by Professor Sir Liam Donaldson the UK Government's Chief Medical Officer, and the professional head of all medical staff in England, draws attention to the role of inactivity in the nations health.

The report states that "the benefits of regular physical activity to health, longevity, well being and protection from serious illness have long been established. They easily surpass the effectiveness of any drugs or other medical treatment. The challenge for everyone, young and old alike, is to build these benefits into their daily lives"".

Key points
• Inactivity affects 60–70% of the adult population: that is more people than obesity, alcohol misuse and smoking combined.

• The physical fitness of children is declining by up to 9% per decade.

• By increasing the risk of developing more than six major diseases, inactivity poses a significant risk to the population’s health.

• Physical activity tends to decline with age, but this decline is not inevitable.

• The potential benefits of physical activity to health are huge. If a medication existed which had a similar effect, it would be regarded as a ‘wonder drug’ or ‘miracle cure’.

Nice to see this being spelled out so clearly in the media, its getting a lot of publicity in the UK.  The report can be found here and the physical activity section starts on page 20.

Blair, S (2007). 61 Physical inactivity: the biggest public health problem of the 21st Century Journal of Science and Medicine in Sport, 10, 29-29 DOI: 10.1016/S1440-2440(07)70066-X

Monday, 15 March 2010

An investigation into the effect of motivational climate on participant enjoyment of children’s athletics sessions

I thought today for some light relief I would post my undergrad dissertation.  As I can actually read it and feel OK about it, i reckon its not too bad, it also got quite a good grade  It can be downloaded in full here.  Don't submit it as your own!  That's cheating!  Any questions email me!

The study was based on the using TARGET framework to influence motivational climate in children's coaching sessions, the abstract is below;

Grounded in Achievement Goal Theory (Maehr & Nicholls, 1980: Nicholls, 1984: Dweck, 1986: Ames, 1984) and with a Social Cognitive Perspective (Bandura, 1986) the study investigated the effects of motivational climate on enjoyment ratings of children's athletics sessions.   The rationale was to attempt to increase enjoyment by designing lesson plans which could utilize the reported benefits of a mastery motivational climate. It was postulated this may reduce drop out rates in children's physical activity classes.  The children n=16 (10 boys and 6 girls) mean age 9.87 took part in two sessions.  The researcher attempted to manipulate the motivational climate of the sessions using the TARGET framework, (Ames, 1992: Epstein, 1989) to design sessions with a mastery or performance motivational climate.  The enjoyment rating of the children was measured after each session.  The results indicated that the there was no significant difference in the enjoyment score rating of the two sessions.

Ames, C. (1992). Classrooms: Goals, structures, and student motivation. Journal of Educational Psychology, 84 (3), 261-271 DOI: 10.1037//0022-0663.84.3.261

Friday, 12 March 2010

Obesity, more and more reports and resources!

There are it seems more reports and strategies concerning obesity than just about anything else. The strange thing is I have yet to read a bad strategy or poorly presented report, most of the papers are excellent. Its the scale and complexity of the problem that seems to be defeating us. The best report on the causes remain in my view the UK Government Foresight report, available on this site.  There is also the recently published Scottish report Preventing Overweight and Obesity in Scotland - A Route Map Towards Healthy Weight also on this site.  

The newer reports I have come across are the not so snappily titled, Prevention of Obesity in Europe – Consortium for the prevention of obesity through effective nutrition and physical activity actions report, Tackling the social and economic determinants of nutrition and physical activity for the prevention of obesity across Europe.  Again its a useful report and has great background and research reading for those who are interested.  My favourite find is the quite wonderful, F as in Fat: How obesity policies are failing in America  .  Again great report, unfortunately a rather sobering and depressing read.  I would like to see obesity policies from around the world so if you come across one, could you please send me a link! 

Now for some blatant advertising.  My old lecturer has updated one of her publications.  Its called the Psychology of Physical Activity: Determinants, Well-Being and Interventions its a great reference or text book.  I used it as an undergrad for four years and it was useful for virtually every essay I wrote.

Trust for America's  Health (2009). F as in Fat: How obesity policies are failing in America, 1-108

Obesity in Scotland - An epidemiological briefing (2007)

Can the Theory of Planned Behavior Predict the Maintenance of Physical Activity?

The theory of planned behavior (TPB) has been applied to many areas of research in physical activity with varying degrees of success I would argue.  This paper looks at the ability of TPB to predict participation in physical activity and explored the development of activity habits in a 12-week study. Gym members completed standard theory of planned behavior measures at baseline and follow-up.  The author argues that the results suggest  that perceived behavioral control was significantly predictive of intentions and actual behavior.   That stable exercise habits developed in the first 5 weeks of the study, and that successful prior performance enhanced perceptions of behavioral control.  As part of my current research I am running a 12 week circuit training class to study adherence.  The findings of the study regarding the 5 week period for exercise habits to develop are particularly interesting as in my study the findings for this element are broadly similar.  The article can be found here

Armitage, C. (2005). Can the Theory of Planned Behavior Predict the Maintenance of Physical Activity? Health Psychology, 24 (3), 235-245 DOI: 10.1037/0278-6133.24.3.235

Chatzisarantis, N., Hagger, M., & Smith, B. (2007). Influences of perceived autonomy support on physical activity within the theory of planned behavior. European Journal of Social Psychology, 37(5), 934.

Wednesday, 10 March 2010

Bridging the intention behaviour gap: Planning, self-efficacy, and action control in the adoption and maintenance of physical exercise

In this paper from 2005 Sniehottaet al. examine why although some people develop an intention to change their health behaviour many do not follow through from intention to action. The gap between the intention and behaviour has been called the ‘‘intention–behaviour gap.’’ The authors examine factors which can be used to reduce the gap. They examine action planning, perceived self-efficacy, and self-regulatory strategies to investigate what effect these can have on reducing disparity between intention and behaviour. The study looked a participants who were cardiac rehabilitation patients their physical activity participation. The authors claim that "the results have implications for research on the intention–behaviour gap, and indicate that planning, maintenance self-efficacy and action control may be important volitional variables". Its well worth a read and examines what I think is a particularly interesting area in Exercise Psychology. The paper can be found here!

Sniehotta, F., Scholz, U., & Schwarzer, R. (2005). Bridging the intention-behaviour gap: Planning, self-efficacy, and action control in the adoption and maintenance of physical exercise Psychology & Health, 20 (2), 143-160 DOI: 10.1080/08870440512331317670

Sunday, 7 March 2010

Let's Make Scotland More Active!

I thought i would post the Scottish Physical Activity strategy to demonstrate that a good strategy requires effective implementation. The document Preventing Overweight and Obesity in Scotland
identified that Scotland was the third most obese country in the world after the USA and Mexico. This may actually be progress as until the report we were usually named as the second! Let's Make Scotland More Active is actually a very good strategy document. It was published in 2003 but progress has been slow with little improvement in PA rates since then. PA is measured in Scotland by the Scottish Health Survey which is now published annually. Since 2003 there has been much discussion about how to go about increasing PA participation, unfortunately politicians and the media seem to be unable to grasp the difference between sport, physical activity and physical education. Policies such as children having two hours of quality physical education per week have sometimes changed to two hours of PA which could include walking to school! The policies themselves remain useful, what is required is the political will to implement them and obviously more PA research!

The Scottish Government (2003). Let's Make Scotland More Active, Edinburgh, Scottish Government (February, 2003 )

Friday, 5 March 2010

Pleasant for some and unpleasant for others: Cognitive factors that influence affective responses to exercise

This article leads on from the post Exercise does not feel the same when you are overweight. It explores how exercise feels different for different people. The authors examine the idea that individuals choose to participate in behaviours which are pleasant and avoid those that are unpleasant. This is an important area of physical activity research. The study also examines the role of the Rate of Perceived Exertion (RPE). The authors examine "the idea that knowing why someone feels the way he or she does during exercise...could be just as important as knowing 'how' he or she feels"and could provide significant theoretical and practical advances". The full article can be found here .

Rose, E., & Parfitt, G. (2010). Pleasant for some and unpleasant for others: a protocol analysis of the cognitive factors that influence affective responses to exercise International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity, 7 (1) DOI: 10.1186/1479-5868-7-15