Doctor of Philosophy
Arnold L. Stolberg
The effects of two physical fitness programs on children's self-concept, locus of control and mood were investigated in this study. It was expected that children who participated in a vigorous running program would demonstrate reduced depression and anxiety but a more internal locus of control and an increase in self-concept than children in a routine exercise group.
Participants in the Running Group were three fifth grade classes of a public elementary school in Richmond, Virginia (N = 60). Participants in the Routine Exercise Group were three fifth grade classes from a comparable public elementary school in the same district (N = 75). Children in both groups completed the Children's Depression Inventory (CDl), trait measure of the State-Trait Anxiety Inventory for Children (STAIC-T), Children's Nowicki-Strickland Internal-External Control Scale (CNS-I E), and Piers-Harris Self-Concept Scale prior to treatment. Nine-minute timed runs, skinfold measurement, and a test of the number of sit-ups completed during a 60-second time period were also administered. Children in both groups received daily 10-20 minute exercise periods for five weeks, supervised and monitored by their classroom teachers. Children in the Routine Exercise Group received a variety of fitness activities. Children in the Running Group received a running program a maximum of three days a week and a variety of fitness activities on the remaining days. At the end of five weeks, both groups were re-assessed on the same measures.
Overall, statistical analyses suggest that differential treatment effects were non-significant. The influence of both exercise programs taken as a whole on physical and psychological measures was assessed due to the project's inability to substantiate the original hypotheses. The calculation of repeated measures analysis of variance revealed statistically significant differences on all physical and psychological measures, but no significant clinical effects. A correlation matrix was then computed. High pre- and post-scores on the timed run test were significantly correlated with low depression and anxiety scores and with a more internal locus of control.
These findings suggested possible weaknesses in the study including strong demand characteristics, weak intervention, and/or inadequate psychological measures for future studies were outlined.
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