Emotional or instrumental support? Distinct effects on vigorous exercise and affect



Rackow P, Berli C, Lüscher J, Luszczynska A & Scholz U (2017) Emotional or instrumental support? Distinct effects on vigorous exercise and affect. Psychology of Sport and Exercise, 33, pp. 66-74.

First paragraph: Physical activity (PA) is an umbrella-term for any movement of the body produced by skeletal muscles (Caspersen, Powell, & Christenson, 1985). Whereas, exercising can be conceptualized as "… planned, structured, and repetitive bodily movement" (Biddle & Mutrie, 2001, p. 7). Vigorous exercising is associated with rapid breathing, sweating and an increase in the heart rate (WHO, 2017). Several studies from recent years have demonstrated the positive impact of exercising on health (e.g., Cavill et al., 2006, Pate et al., 1995, Warburton et al., 2006). Health benefits of exercising depend on the intensity and duration (Warburton et al., 2006), with more pronounced health benefits following from vigorous exercising. In contrast, leading a sedentary lifestyle may increase the risk of developing a heart disease, type 2 diabetes, or chronic back pain (CDC, 2015a). However, in most western industrialized countries (Hardman & Stensel, 2003), most adults do not reach the exercise levels recommended by health organizations (e.g., CDC, 2015b, WHO, 2010, WHO, 2017). Therefore, it is important to identify modifiable factors that help people to engage in regular exercising. One can distinguish between modifiable factors of exercising that either mainly focus on the person, such as self-regulation abilities (e.g., Gollwitzer & Sheeran, 2006), or factors that focus on the person's environmental context (e.g., access to sports facilities, like public swimming pools, etc.) and their social network, such as the social support from important others (e.g., family and friends). Several studies demonstrated that social support plays a crucial role in the adoption and maintenance of exercise (Courneya et al., 2000, Kouvonen et al., 2012, Lippke, 2004, Trost et al., 2002, Spanier and Allison, 2001). The receipt of social support can also be associated with negative and positive affective states (e.g. Benedict et al., 2015, Thoits, 2011), but the evidence is, to some degree, contradictory (Thoits, 2011). Therefore, this paper will investigate the interplay of different kinds of received social support with vigorous exercise and affect on a weekly base separately.

Psychology of Sport and Exercise: Volume 33

Publication date30/11/2017
Publication date online02/08/2017
Date accepted by journal31/07/2017

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Dr Pamela Rackow

Dr Pamela Rackow

Lecturer in Psychology, Psychology