For decades, researchers have proclaimed the positive psychosocial benefits of participation in physical activity. However, recent meta-analyses of the literature have found infrequent and inconclusive empirical support for the link between physical activity and psychosocial well-being. In this study, we use data from a longitudinal study to explore
Hopp i os gick pa grund links between participation in physical activity and global self-esteem among girls from childhood into early adolescence and the direction of this relationship.
Participants included non-Hispanic white girls. Girls' participation in physical activity and their global self-esteem were assessed when they were 9, 11, and 13 years old. Panel regression was used to assess the lagged effect of physical activity on self-esteem and the lagged effect of self-esteem on physical activity, controlling for family socioeconomic status SES and girls' body mass index BMI. A significant lagged effect of physical activity on self-esteem was identified.
Specifically, higher physical activity at ages 9 and 11 years predicted higher self-esteem at ages 11 and 13 years respectively, controlling for covariates. Positive effects of physical activity on self-esteem were most apparent at age 11 and for girls with higher BMI. No support was gained for the lagged effect of self-esteem on physical activity. Results suggest that participating in physical activity can lead to positive self-esteem among adolescent girls, particularly for younger girls and those at greatest risk of overweight.
These findings highlight the necessity of promoting physical activity among adolescent girls as a method of fostering positive self-worth. The positive effect of physical activity on mental health is a long-held and widely accepted belief among scholars and practitioners alike. Mental health benefits of physical activity may result from increases in social support and a sense of mastery as well as changes in noradrenaline and neurotransmitters such as dopamine and serotonin [ 1 ].
Recent reviews of the literature, however, indicate that empirical support for the link between participation in physical activity and psychosocial well-being is infrequent and inconclusive [ 2 - 5 ]. With this in mind, this study assesses the longitudinal association between physical activity and global self-esteem in a sample of adolescent girls, a population at risk for depression and low self-esteem [ 6 - 8 ].
Self-esteem is the focus of this study because it has been identified as a predictor of many other constructs that constitute psychosocial well-being. Higher levels of self-esteem are associated with increased self-efficacy, body image, and leadership, and reduced levels of depression and anxiety [ 59 ]. As outlined in recent reviews [ 2510 ], few studies have examined the link between physical activity and self-esteem among adolescent girls, and no studies have tested the direction of this association.
Given the low rates of physical activity participation in this population [ 11 ], these are important questions to address. The lack of detailed information on the relationship between physical activity and psychosocial well-being impedes the development of effective intervention programs.
Hopp i os gick pa grund specifically, it is not clear whether increasing self-esteem may lead to higher physical activity among girls or whether increasing physical activity may lead to higher self-esteem.
Both are worthy efforts to pursue, but conclusive evidence of an association between physical activity and self-esteem and the direction of this effect will ensure more effective use of limited intervention resources. Although research on the association between physical activity and self-esteem with adolescent samples is limited, a small number of longitudinal studies assessing the effects of physical activity on self-esteem have been conducted with older adult populations [ 12 ].
Based on data from adults aged 60 years and older, McAuley et al [ 12 ] contended that there is a direct link between participation in physical activity and increased self-esteem over time.
Specifically, McAuley et al found that physical activity had a positive effect on physical self-worth and global self-esteem over a 4-year period. These data provide further justification for assessing longitudinal associations between physical activity and self-esteem in other age groups such as adolescent girls. This study examines the temporal ordering of the association between physical activity and global self-esteem using a longitudinal sample of girls assessed at ages 9, 11, and 13 years.
Specifically, using an individual growth model, the lagged effect of physical activity on self-esteem and the lagged effect of self-esteem on physical activity are examined while taking factors such as parents' socioeconomic status SES and girls' age and body mass index BMI into consideration.
Using technique, we were able to assess the direction of the relationship between physical activity and self-esteem and whether effects were modified by girls' age, BMI, or pubertal status.
Participants included non-Hispanic white girls who were part of a year longitudinal study examining girls' nutrition, Hopp i os gick pa grund, physical activity, and health.
Girls were assessed at ages 9, 11, and 13 years. A convenience sampling method was used. Participants were recruited for the longitudinal study using flyers and newspaper advertisements. In addition, families with age-eligible female children within a five-county radius received mailings and follow-up phone calls. Girls were not recruited based on pre-existing physical activity behaviors or self-esteem. The Institutional Review Board of the associated university approved all study procedures.
Written consent from parents for their daughters and written assent from girls were obtained before girls' completion of the study protocol.
Participating girls visited an on-campus laboratory at ages 9, 11, and 13 for data collection. Trained interviewers collected data on girls' participation in physical activity, self-esteem, BMI, pubertal status, and SES at each age using the measures described below. Sample attrition and item missingness was minimal, resulting in a study sample of respondents with full information at age 11 and at age 13 years.
We use listwise deletion in response to missing data because Allison [ 13 ] has demonstrated the superior inferential properties of this approach to missingness relative to common imputation alternatives. Three measures of girls' physical activity were obtained including general inclination toward activity, participation in organized sports, and physical fitness. The Children's Physical Activity CPA scale was used to assess girls' general tendency or inclination toward activity [ 14 ].
Participation in team sports and organized activities was assessed using the activity checklist. Participants were presented with a list of 24 activities e. The total number of activities selected was summed to reflect the total number of sports and organized activities in which girls participated. Although there are no validity data available for the activity checklist, activities included on the checklist are consistent with preferred activities as reported by youth living in rural areas.
Youth in rural areas have different interests and opportunities than youth living in urban or metropolitan areas. It was therefore important that the measure appropriately reflect the needs and interest of this group. The most preferred activities among rural youth, as identified by Savage and Scott [ 15 ] include tennis, volleyball, swimming, softball, bicycling, football, ice skating, backpacking and hiking, and weightlifting.
All of these activities were included on the activity checklist. This is a progressive test providing an index of aerobic fitness that is suitable for children of all ages. Children run back and forth between markers spaced 20 meters apart at a specified pace that progressively increases.
Physical activity is a multidimensional construct [ 19 ]. Consequently, a summary physical activity score based
Hopp i os gick pa grund multiple measures of physical activity is more representative of general activity patterns than are individual measures [ 20 ]. A summary physical activity score was created using the three measures of physical activity at each age. Specifically, principal component analysis was used to combine scores on each measure to form a single score using weights or factor loadings reflecting the intercorrelations between the measures.
In addition to being a more reliable and valid measure of general levels of physical activity, the use of a summary physical activity score substantially reduced the number of analyses performed and simplified the presentation Hopp i os gick pa grund discussion of results.
Girls responded to six-items e. Scores were averaged to create a total self-esteem score ranging from low 1 to high 4 self-esteem. Previous research supports the reliability and validity of the SP [ 22 ]. Breast development was used as a marker for pubertal development. Girls' breast development Hopp i os gick pa grund assessed at each age using Tanner's criteria for pubertal breast stage [ 23 ].
Stages range from 1 no development to 5 mature development. Visual inspection of each breast was made unobtrusively by a trained nurse and a nurse's assistant while using a stethoscope to check heart rate.
In addition, research assistants recorded Hopp i os gick pa grund height and weight three times. Scores were converted to age and sex-specific BMI z -scores [ 24 ].
Finally, parents provided information on family income and their years of education as part of a standard demographic questionnaire used for the larger longitudinal study. These data family income, mother's education, father's education were combined using principal component analysis to provide a single measure of SES.
We used an individual growth model [ 25 - 28 ] to examine a the lagged effect of physical activity on self-esteem and b the lagged effect of self-esteem on physical activity. We chose this analytical method because it makes full use of the data from all three time points, it models the within person correlation across time, and it assesses the two lagged activity effects 9—11 and 11—13 simultaneously, thereby decreasing the likelihood of a type I error, increasing the number of data points from when modeling self-esteem at age 11 or when modeling self-esteem at age 13 toand increasing the statistical power.
In each model, the outcome variable at ages 11 and 13 years was regressed onto activity at ages 9 and Covariates including age, BMI z -score as a time varying covariatepubertal status, and SES, measured at ages 11 and 13 years, and first-order interactions among the covariates, were added to each model.
No significant effects were found for pubertal status or for interactions between age, BMI, and SES, and these terms did not improve model fit. As a result, these variables were excluded from the final analyses. Using the lagged effect of physical activity on self-esteem as an example, the final model was specified as follows: Y ijthe self-esteem score for the j th respondent at time iwas regressed onto a respondent's age at time i A ijb lagged activity ACT i-1,jso that the activity component score of the j th respondent at age 9 affects Y j at age 11 and the activity score at age 11 affects self-esteem at age 13, c SES at age 9 SES jand d BMI BMI ijand e interaction terms between age and lagged activity, and BMI and Hopp i os gick pa grund activity.
Girls were generally from middle- to upper-income, well-educated families. Mothers and fathers reported an average of As shown in Table 1participants generally reported relatively high levels of self-esteem.
The mean self-esteem score was approximately 3. The scale range, however, indicates that some girls reported scores as low as 1. Girls reported moderate levels of physical activity on the CPA with mean scores ranging between 2. In addition, girls on average reported participating in two organized activities at each age with a range of 0—11 activities. Finally, girls' fitness scores increased across ages 9—13 years. Mean and SD self-esteem, physical activity, and body mass index BMI z -score at ages 9, 11, and 13 years.
Results from the individual growth model predicting physical activity provided no support for a lagged effect of self-esteem on physical activity. That is, higher self-esteem at ages 9 and 11 years was not associated with higher physical activity at ages 11 and 13 respectively data not shown. In contrast, there was evidence for a lagged effect of physical activity on self-esteem Table 2. There was also consistent evidence of within-person residual autocorrelation between the two panels ages 11 and 13which was corrected for.
"Hopp i os gick pa grund" the lagged effect of physical activity is statistically significant in Table 2this effect is not directly interpretable because it is only in reference to year-old girls with a mean BMI, and the lagged effect of activity was conditional on age and BMI, as shown by the significant interactions. Results from the panel regression model predicting the lagged effect of physical activity on girls' self-esteem, controlling for covariates.
To interpret the lagged effect of physical activity on self-esteem, results need to be assessed at varying ages and BMI z Hopp i os gick pa grund as shown in Table 3.
Table 3 reveals two patterns. First, the effect of physical activity on self-esteem is stronger at age 11 years than at age That is, the effect of physical activity age at 9 on self-esteem at age 11 is stronger than the effect of physical activity at age 11 on self-esteem at age Second, the positive effect of physical activity on self-esteem increases as BMI increases.
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