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Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/1807/29778

Title: The Need for a Physical Education: Examining Physical Activity During The Transition to University
Authors: Kwan, Matthew
Advisor: Faulkner, Guy
Department: Exercise Sciences
Keywords: Physical Activity
Issue Date: 31-Aug-2011
Abstract: While physical activity (PA) declines across the lifespan, this does not occur linearly. Declines are most pronounced during the transition into early adulthood. This dissertation consisted of three studies examining PA decline during the transition into early adulthood: (1) to understand patterns of PA and other health behaviours of Canadians; (2) to understand reasons for PA declines during entry into university; and (3) to examine the feasibility and effects of a website-delivered PA intervention. Study 1 utilized multilevel modeling to identify patterns of PA, binge drinking and smoking among a nationally-representative cohort of adolescents (N = 640). Results found PA decline evident among all young adults transitioning into early adulthood regardless of educational trajectory – declines being most pronounced among college/university males – highlighting the saliency of PA decline, as other health behaviours stabilized or declined during early adulthood. Given justification for intervening with the university population, study 2 explored students’ perceptions of PA, and their preferences towards a PA intervention. Eight focus groups were conducted with first-year university students (N = 45). Results found students being concerned with PA decline, and were receptive to an Internet-based intervention. However, such concerns are inflected with ambivalence, potentially posing a challenge for interventionists. Findings from studies 1 and 2 informed the development of a website-delivered PA intervention – ‘Active Transition’. Pre-testing was conducted with first-year students (N = 15) and PA experts (N = 7), which found the website and its content being acceptable and usable. Results of the efficacy trial (N = 65) found Active Transition to successfully attenuate declines in PA cognitions, and to some extent, PA behaviours. This confirms the Internet being a useful tool for delivering PA interventions in this population. However, given modest compliance in terms of usage, future work is required to evaluate the addition of more current/popular strategies for engaging students. Overall, this dissertation has provided justification for why it is critical that research continues work with this population, and has provided the foundations in helping with the long-term vision of implementing a population-level initiative to help students attenuate the significant declines in their PA behaviours.
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/1807/29778
Appears in Collections:Doctoral

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