Effectiveness of classroom vs. web-based lifetime fitness for health lab instruction on college students' behavioral and psychological physical activity orientation Public Deposited

http://ir.library.oregonstate.edu/concern/graduate_thesis_or_dissertations/nc580p650

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  • Offering courses that promote, encourage, and support physical activity among college students has been an aim of physical education departments for the past century (Sargeant, 1900). Even so, this population has been identified in Healthy People 2010 as a target population segment in need of physical activity intervention. Historically, such coursework has almost exclusively been activity and skill-based, which made it particularly appealing to students who were already active while those who were not physically active generally avoided such courses (Scantling, Strand, Lackey, & McAleese, 1995). Over time, alternative courses and course formats began to evolve, including conceptually-based Lifetime Fitness for Health (LFH) courses (Corbin, 1969). Such courses were designed to promote wellness-related behaviors among college students, including physical activity participation. These courses have increased in popularity over the past 30 years (Hensley, 2001) and are now included by some colleges and universities as part of the students' graduation requirements (Cardinal, Jacques, & Levi, 2002). Some colleges and universities have also begun offering on-line versions of their LFH courses (Conlee, 2000), but little research has been done on the effectiveness of these courses and the influences delivery format (i.e. face-to-face vs. web-based) may have. The purpose of this study was to determine the relative effectiveness of a theoretically-based, LFH course on college students' behavioral and psychological physical activity orientation. The independent variables were course format (i.e., face-to-face vs. web-based vs. control) and time (i.e., baseline and post-intervention). The study was conducted over 10 weeks, using intact groups. The dependent variables were exercise behavior, and self-efficacy, decisional balance, and the behavioral and cognitive processes of change (all from the Transtheoretical Model). Of the initial 151 people enrolled in the study, 109 (72.2%) returned post-intervention questionnaires and were therefore retained in the study. Retention rates did not differ across groups (p>.30). The majority of participants were female (60.3%), Caucasian (81.5%), and held either freshman or sophomore class standing (80.1%). Participants were, on average, 21.3 (SD = 5.7) years old, with a Body Mass Index (BMI) of 24.3 (SD=5.4). The majority of participants were in the preparation stage of change (45.7%), followed by maintenance (35.1%), action (12.6%), contemplation (5.3%), and precontemplation (1.3%). Exercise behavior improved significantly over time (p<.0 1); however, the main effect for groups (p=.06), and the group by time interaction were not significant (p=.31). Significant main effects were observed between groups (p<.01), and over time (p<.01) for the vector of means comprised of self-efficacy, decisional balance, and the cognitive and behavioral processes of change. The group by time interaction for the vector of means was not significant (p=.17). Follow-up F-tests revealed the group differences were due to differences in the cognitive (p<.05) and behavioral (p<.05) processes of change, with no differences observed for either self-efficacy (p=.35) or decisional balance (p=96). Time effects were observed for self-efficacy (p<.05), and the cognitive (p<.001) and behavioral (p<.01)processes of change, with no difference observed on decisional balance (p=.39). While not entirely supportive, the results due suggest some promising strategies for enhancing the efficacy of LFH courses, regardless of delivery format.
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