ArticlePDF Available

Effects of Perceived Fitness Level of Exercise Partner on Intensity of Exertion

Authors:

Abstract

Problem statement: Social comparison theory was used to examine if exercising with a research confederate posing as either high fit or low fit would increase the exertion in exercising. Approach: 91 college students were randomly assigned to one of three conditions: Biking alone, biking with a high fit confederate, or biking with a low fit confederate. All participants were instructed to complete 20 min of exercise at 60-70% of their maximum target heart rate. Results: Results indicated that participants in the high fit condition exercised harder than those in the low fit condition. However, no mood differences emerged between conditions. Conclusion: Social comparison theory predicts exercise outcome such that participants gravitate towards the behavior (high fit or low fit) of those around them.
Journal of Social Sciences 6 (1): 50-54, 2010
ISSN 1549-3652
© 2010 Science Publications
Corresponding Author: Thomas G. Plante, Department of Psychology, Alumni Science Hall, Room 203,
Santa Clara University, Santa Clara, CA 95053-0333
50
Effects of Perceived Fitness Level of Exercise Partner on
Intensity of Exertion
Thomas G. Plante, Meghan Madden, Sonia Mann, Grace Lee,
Allison Hardesty, Nick Gable, Allison Terry and Greg Kaplow
Department of Psychology, Alumni Science Hall, Room 203,
Santa Clara University, Santa Clara, CA 95053-0333
Abstract: Problem statement: Social comparison theory was used to examine if exercising with a
research confederate posing as either high fit or low fit would increase the exertion in exercising.
Approach: 91 college students were randomly assigned to one of three conditions: Biking alone,
biking with a high fit confederate, or biking with a low fit confederate. All participants were instructed
to complete 20 min of exercise at 60-70% of their maximum target heart rate. Results: Results
indicated that participants in the high fit condition exercised harder than those in the low fit condition.
However, no mood differences emerged between conditions. Conclusion: Social comparison theory
predicts exercise outcome such that participants gravitate towards the behavior (high fit or low fit) of
those around them.
Key words: Exercise, social comparison, perceived fitness, mood, exertion
INTRODUCTION
Research has demonstrated many physical and
psychological benefits of exercise including reduced
risks of cardiovascular disease, hypertension, diabetes,
cancer and obesity (Center for Disease Control and
Prevention, 2006; Blair et al., 1989; Brukner and
Brown, 2005; Byers et al., 2002; Pate et al., 1995;
Bryan et al., 2007; Morgan, 1985) as well as
psychological disturbances such as depression, anxiety
and stress disorders (Plante and Rodin, 1990; Plante,
1999; Kennedy and Newton, 1997). Researchers
generally agree that exercise provides many benefits for
both physical and mental health (Center for Disease
Control and Prevention, 2006; Blair et al., 1989;
Brukner and Brown, 2005; Byers et al., 2002; Pate et al.,
1995; Bryan et al., 2007; Morgan, 1985; Plante and
Rodin, 1990; Plante, 1999; Kennedy and Newton,
1997). Although research on the many benefits of
exercise is abundant, there is surprisingly little research
on the psychological and behavioral effects of
exercising with others. The limited available research
examining social exercise has demonstrated health and
mood advantages and disadvantages of exercising with
a partner (Plante et al., 2001; 2003).
Social comparison theory may offer a helpful
framework for understanding the effects of exercising
with others. The theory states that “humans have a drive
to assess how they are doing and in order to assess
how they are doing, they seek standards against which
to compare themselves. When objective standards are
not available, people look to their social environments
and engage in comparison with available others”
(Corning et al., 2006). Social comparison theory has
been applied to various research areas that may explain
why people are motivated to engage in health-
promoting or health damaging behaviors (Festinger,
1954).
For example, in an investigation on how social
influences encourage healthy behaviors such as
exercise, perceived behaviors of peers influenced the
behavior of others such that individuals were likely to
mimic the behavior of those around them (Festinger,
1954; Luszczyska et al., 2004). Individuals feel the
need to engage in socially acceptable behaviors, such as
exercising, when observing others doing the same
(Luszczyska et al., 2004).
Additional research demonstrates that mood and
energy levels are altered when exercising in the
presence of others or in front of a mirror. For example,
women who exercised with a partner or in front of a
mirror experienced an increased level of exhaustion and
decreases in feelings of revitalization while exercising
compared to women who exercised either alone or
without mirrors (Ginis et al., 2006). Although some
people may feel self-conscious exercising in the
J. Social Sci., 6 (1): 50-54, 2010
51
presence of others, research demonstrates that
individuals often engage in exercise for social
interaction. The likelihood of joining and staying
motivated during exercise increases when friends or
peers engage in those same activities (Faulkner et al.,
2008; Laverie, 1998).
In the present study, social comparison theory was
used to determine if exercising with someone perceived
to be either high or low in fitness would alter the
exercise experience and behavior of research
participants. In particular, we examined mood and the
level of exertion in subjects when exercising with
someone who the participant believed to possess either
a high or low level of fitness. We hypothesized that the
level of effort exerted by participants would match the
perceived fitness of their partner such that research
participants would mimic the exercise behavior of those
around them during exercise.
Exercise in this study was defined as biking either
alone or with a partner in one of three experimental
conditions. In two experimental conditions, the
participant exercised with a research confederate as
their partner. One of these conditions used a “high fit”
confederate, while the other condition used a “low fit”
confederate. In a third and control condition, the
participant exercised on a stationary bicycle alone. All
of the participants in the experiment completed the
same intensity and length of time of physical activity
required to meet the daily recommended criteria
suggested by the Center for Disease Control and
Prevention (2009).
MATERIALS AND METHODS
Participants: The sample consisted of 91
undergraduate students at a West coast private
Catholic university (43 females, 48 males, M = 18.84
years, SD = 1.07). All subjects were enrolled in a
general psychology course and received research
participation credit. The project received approval from
the human subjects committee at the university where it
was conducted.
Measures:
Activation-Deactivation Adjective Check List (AD-
ACL) (Thayer, 1978; Thayer, 1986): The AD-ACL
is a brief, frequently used self-report checklist
designed to measure momentary mood states
associated with exercise with reported adequate
reliability and validity used in a number of
investigations involving exercise.
Perceived Exertion Scale (Borg scale, PES) (Borg,
1982): The PES was used to evaluate the participants’
perceived level of exertion where 6 = very light
exertion and 20 = very hard exertion. The PES is often
used in exercise research and has adequate reliability
and validity.
Paces Activity Enjoyment Scale (PACES)
(Kendzierski and DeCarlo, 1991): The PACES scale
includes18 bipolar items on which individuals rate
themselves on a 7 point Likert scale. The scale
measures the amount of enjoyment individuals perceive
themselves to have experienced during an exercise
activity. Sample scale items include “I find it
energizing/I find it tiring “and” I enjoy it/I hate it.” The
authors report that PACES has excellent internal
consistency, stability and validity.
Several researchers developed Likert scales: Several
10 point Likert scales developed by the authors
measuring each participant’s current level of perceived
stress, how participants felt while exercising next to
someone who was either posing as high fit or low fit.
The value of 1 indicated high stress, low enjoyment,
low level of comfort and feeling low fit while the value
of 10 indicated very relaxed, very enjoyable, very
comfortable and feeling very fit.
Procedure: Participants enrolled in the study to
complete a requirement for a general psychology
undergraduate class. On the day prior to their scheduled
laboratory session, participants received an email to
remind them of the experiment and confirmed their
appointment. The participants were told to wear
comfortable and exercise appropriate clothing.
Prior to beginning of the experiment, participants
reviewed and signed consent forms agreeing to
participate. Then, they were administered the pre-
exercise questionnaires and their height and weight was
recorded. The lab assistant then placed heart rate
monitors on the participants’ upper torsos and gave
them a wristwatch that displayed their heart rates.
Participants were randomly assigned to one of three
experimental conditions. The length and intensity of
exercise were the same and included biking for 20 min
on a stationary bike. Participants were instructed to
keep their heart rates at a moderate level of 60-70%
maximum heart rate (i.e., about 130 bpm for college
students). The conditions included: biking alone in a
control condition, biking with a same gender “high-fit”
confederate and biking with a same gender “low-fit”
confederate.
J. Social Sci., 6 (1): 50-54, 2010
52
For the purposes of this experiment we
operationally defined “high fit” as someone who wore
athletic clothing, exercised intensely and stated to the
experimenter in the presence of the research subject, “I
am so glad you had a fitness study, I love exercising”
while mounting the bike. A “low-fit” confederate wore
non-athletic gear (e.g., jeans, slippers), barely exerted
themselves and stated to the experimenter in the
presence of the research subject, “I don’t know why I
signed up for this experiment, I hate exercising” while
mounting the bike.
In all conditions, confederates entered the room
after the participant had arrived and asked if they were
in the right place for the fitness study. This was done to
minimize suspicions that confederates were research
assistants.
After exercising, the participant and the
confederate were asked to rate their perceived level of
exertion according to the PES/Borg Scale (Borg, 1982).
After completing the experiment, the experimenter
debriefed the participants and informed them about the
purpose of the study. The confederates’ identity was
revealed (i.e., that they were part of the experiment) and
participants were asked not to discuss the experiment
with others to avoid future possible participants from
learning about the purpose of the study. The
participants were thanked for their time and provided
with course credit.
RESULTS
A 2×3 Analysis Of Variance (ANOVA) was used
to analyze the data. The only exception was for the
measure of mood post-exercise scores where a 2×3
Analysis Of Covariance (ANCOVA) was used with pre
laboratory exercise mood scores used as covariates.
The manipulation check was successful in that
participants who exercised with high fit confederates
perceived them as high fit while participants who
exercised with low fit confederates perceived them as
low fit. Participants ranked confederates on a 10-point
scale where 10 was defined as being high fit and 1
was defined as being low fit. The average rating for
high fit confederate was 7.8 (SD = 1.2) while the
average rating of low fit confederates were 5.2
(SD = 1.3; F(2, 63) = 24.04, p<0.001).
Pulse rate and exertion results indicated that
participants in the high fit group had higher pulse rates
and worked harder than participants in the low fit and
control groups (F(2, 90) = 9.05, p<0.001). For example,
females who exercised with high fit confederates had an
average pulse rate of 133 beats min
1
(bpm) (SD = 24.35)
while females who exercised with low fit confederates
had an average pulse rate of 119 bpm (SD = 13.54).
Males who exercised with a high fit confederate had an
average pulse rate of 124 bpm (SD = 18.39) while
males who exercised with a low fit confederate had an
average pulse rate of 99 bmp (SD = 8.46). Additionally,
females in experimental groups worked harder and had
higher pulse rates than males, yielding a significant
gender interaction (F(1, 90) = 20.38, p<0.001).
Participants in experimental groups felt they
exerted themselves more than participants in control
groups (F(2, 91) = 3.42, p<0.05) and females ranked
their exertion levels higher than males (F (1, 91) = 4.38,
p<0.05).
A non significant trend demonstrated that
participants in the high fit conditions were the least
calm while those in the control group were the most
calm (F(2, 91) = 2.87, p = 0.063). Females in the high
fitness condition were the most uncomfortable and the
least calm (F(2, 91) = 3.90, p<0.05).
Interestingly, participants in the control group
enjoyed the exercise activity the most (F(2, 93) =
p<0.05) and reported being the most relaxed (F(2, 93) =
p<0.05).
Surprisingly, there were no significant main effects
or interactions for the measures of mood, tiredness,
tension and energy with all p’s>0.05.
DISCUSSION
Social comparison theory has been applied to a
variety of research areas such as perceived physical
appearance, wealth, success and failure (Buunk and
Gibbons, 1997). The goal of this study was to examine
how social comparisons might impact an individual’s
level of exertion and mood during an exercise routine
with a perceived high fit or low fit exercise partner. The
results were consistent with social comparison theory
predictions when applied to exercise outcome such that
participants gravitate towards the exercise behaviors of
those around them. Even when all participants,
regardless of experimental conditions, were instructed
to exercise at a moderate level and keep their pulse
rates within a particular range, they mimic the exercise
behavior of their exercise partner. Additionally,
individuals who exercised alone reported feeling calmer
and more relaxed in comparison to individuals who
exercised with a partner.
Implications of this research might suggest that
individuals attempting to exercise more intensely could
benefit by exercising next to someone they perceive to
be high fit. However, high fit individuals would likely
not receive those same benefits when working next to
someone lower in fitness. A less fit individual might
J. Social Sci., 6 (1): 50-54, 2010
53
influence a higher fit individual to exert themselves
less. Thus, a high fit individual might benefit more
from either exercising alone or exercising with another
high fit individual. Exercising with someone more fit
than oneself could promote a higher intensity workout
(Daley and Huffen, 2005). However, exercising alone
may prove to be more beneficial than exercising with
either a high or low fit individual when trying to secure
a relaxing exercise experience.
Results from the current study must be considered
cautiously. The sample consisted of a generally
homogeneous population of generally high fit and
healthy undergraduate students at a private university.
Furthermore, the sample size was small (n = 91) and the
findings may have occurred due to unknown factors.
The lab setting of this experiment may not generalize to
the real world such as a fitness club or exercise gym
experience. Health clubs often have a variety of fitness
levels represented, have music, mirrors and other types
of cues that differ from a university laboratory setting.
Curiously, no group differences were found while
measuring mood. One might expect that mood would
be impacted by the experience but results showed that it
was not in this study. Finally, in examining our
manipulation check regarding the difference in
perceived fitness level of the confederate subjects, the
findings were modest suggesting that perhaps
participants experienced the high fit participant as high
fit but the low fit participant as being moderately fit.
CONCLUSION
Future research should further investigate the
effects of social comparison theory on exercise
behaviors. It would be useful to use a heterogeneous
sample with individuals ranging in fitness levels. It
would also be useful to repeat this study in a more real
world setting, such as an exercise gym or health club.
REFERENCES
Blair,
S.N., H.W. Kohl, R.S.
Paffenbarger, D.G. Clarkand
and K.H. Cooper et al., 1989. Physical fitness and
all-cause mortality. A prospective study of healthy
men and women.
J. Am. Med. Assoc., 262: 2394-2401
.
DOI:10.1001/JAMA.262.17.2395
Borg, G.V., 1982. Perceived exertion scale. Med. Sci.
Sports Exerc., 14: 377-381. PMID: 7154893
Brukner, P.D. and W.J. Brown, 2005. Is exercise good
for you? Med. J. Aust., 183: 538-541. PMID:
16296971
Bryan, A., K.E. Hutchison, D.R. Seals and D.L. Allen,
2007. A transdisciplinary model integrating
genetic, physiological and psychological correlates
of voluntary exercise. Health Psychol., 26: 30-39.
DOI: 10.1037/0278-6133.26.1.30
Buunk, B.P. and F.X. Gibbons, 1997. Health, Coping
and Well-Being: Perspectives from Social
Comparison Theory. Lawrence Erlbaum
Associates, New Jersey. ISBN: 0805818588.
Byers, T., M. Nestle, A. Mctiernan, C. Doyke and
A. Currrie-Williams et al., 2002. American cancer
society guidelines on nutrition and physical activity
for cancer prevention: Reducing the risk of cancer
with healthy food choices and physical activity.
CA: Cancer J. Clin., 52: 92-119. DOI:
10.3322/CANJCLIN.52.2.92
Center for Disease Control and Prevention 2006.
Physical Activity for Everyone: Recommendations:
How active do adults need to be to gain some
benefit?
http://www.cdc.gov/nccdphp/dnpaphysical/recom
mendations/adults.htm
Center for Disease Control and Prevention, 2009.
Physical activity for everyone: Recommendations:
How active do adults need to be to gain some
benefit?
http://www.cdc.gov/nccdphp/dnpaphysical/recom
mendations/adults.htm
Corning, A.F., A.J. Krumm, J. Angela and L.A. Smitham
,
2006. Differential social comparison processes in
women with and without eating disorder
symptoms. J. Couns.
Psychol., 53: 338-349
.
DOI:10.1037/0022-0167.53.3.338
Daley, A.J. and C. Huffen, 2005. The effects of low and
moderate intensity exercise on subjective
experiences in a naturalistic health and fitness club
setting. J. Health Psychol., 8: 685-691. DOI:
10.1177/13591053030086003
Faulkner, J., G. Parfitt and R. Eston, 2008. The rating
of perceived exertion during competitive running
scales with time. Psychophysiology, 45: 977-985.
DOI: 10.1111/J.1469-8986.2008.00712.X
Festinger, L., 1954. A theory of social comparison
processes. Hum. Relat., 7: 117-140. DOI:
10.1177/001872675400700202
Ginis, K.A., S.M. Burke and L. Gauvin, 2006.
Exercising with others exacerbates the negative
effects of mirrored environments on sedentary
women’s feeling
states. Psychol. Health, 22: 945-962.
DOI
:
10.1080/14768320601070571
Kendzierski, D. and K.J. DeCarlo, 1991. Physical
activity enjoyment scale: Two validation studies. J.
Sport Exerc. Psychol., 13: 60-64.
J. Social Sci., 6 (1): 50-54, 2010
54
Kennedy, M.N. and M. Newton, 1997. Effect of
exercise intensity on mood in step aerobics. J.
Sports Med. Phys., 37: 200-204. PMID: 9407751
Laverie, D.A., 1998. Motivations for ongoing
participation in a fitness activity. Leisure Sci.,
20: 277-302. DOI: 10.1080/01490409809512287
Luszczyska, A., F.X. Gibbons, B.F. Piko and M. Tekozel,
2004. Social comparison and perceived peers
behaviors as predictors of nutrition and physical
activity: A comparison among adolescents in
Hungary, Turkey, Poland and USA. Psychol.
Health, 19: DOI: 10.1080/0887044042000205844
Morgan, W.P., 1985. Psychogenic factors and exercise
metabolism: A review. Med. Sci. Sports Exerc.,
17: 309-316. PMID: 3894867
Pate, R.R., M. Pratt, S.N. Blair, W.L. Haskell and
C.A. Macera et al. 1995. Physical activity and
public health. A recommendation from the centers
for disease control and prevention and the
American college of sports medicine. J. Am. Med.
Assoc., 273: 402-407. DOI:
10.1001/JAMA.273.5.402
Plante, T.G. and J. Rodin, 1990. Physical fitness and
enhanced psychological health. Curr. Psychol. Res.
Rev., 9: 3-24. DOI: 10.1007/BF02686764
Plante, T.G., 1999. Could the perception of fitness
account for many of the mental and physical
health benefits of exercise. Adv. Mind-Body
Med., 15: 291-301. PMID: 10555401
Plante, T.G., L. Coscarelli and M. Ford, 2001. Does
exercising with another enhance the stress-reducing
benefits
of exercise? Int. J. Stress Manage., 8: 201-213
.
DOI: 10.1023/A:1011339025532
Plante, T.G., R. Bogdan, Z. Kanani, M. Babula and
E. Ferlic et al., 2003. Psychological benefits of
exercising with another. J. Hum. Move. Stud.
44: 93-106. DOI: 10.1037/1072-5245.14.1.88
Thayer, R.E., 1978. Factor analytic and reliability
studies on the activation deactivation adjective
check list. Psychol. Rep., 42: 747-756. PMID:
674499
Thayer, R.E., 1986. Activation-deactivation adjective
check list: Current overview and structural
analysis. Psychol. Rep., 58: 607-614.
... Experimental work examining the effect of peer influence on submaximal, free choice exercise in non-athlete adults (Grindrod, Paton, Knez, & O'Brien 2006;Plante, Madden, Mann, Lee, Hardesty, Gable, et al., 2010) and children (Barkley, Salvy, Sanders, Dey, von Carlowitz, & Williamson, 2014;Rittenhouse, Salvy, & Barkley, 2011;Sanders, Peacock, Williamson, Wilson, Carnes, & Barkley, 2014;Salvy, Bowker, & Roemmich, 2008) suggests that the presence of others can positively impact exercise behavior (i.e., increase the amount and intensity of physical activity) and enjoyment. A similar effect in athletes could have important practical implications. ...
... While past experimental research has shown enhanced athletic performance during competition (Corbett, Barwood, Ouzounogluo, Thelwell, & Dicks, 2012;Rhea et al., 2003;Williams et al., 1989;Wilmore, 1968) the current study more closely relates to those on non-athlete adults and children Grindrod et al., 2006;Plante et al., 2010;Rittenhouse et al., 2011;Sanders et al., 2014;Salvy et al., 2008) that showed a positive effect on physical activity behavior and enjoyment during submaximal exercise. By contrast, a preliminary study by our research group (Carnes and Barkley, 2015) examined the effect of peer influence on athletes during submaximal exercise. ...
Article
Full-text available
Training with a partner is a common practice amongst athletes, but there is little research on the causal impact of peer influence on acute exercise behavior. The purpose of this study was to determine if running with an unfamiliar peer (versus alone) affects average speed, enjoyment, or perceived exertion during self-paced outdoor running. Sixteen recreational runners (n = 8 female, n = 8 male) completed self-paced 6.4-km runs on a measured path. One run was done alone while the other was with a single unfamiliar, age and sex matched peer. There was a significant sex by condition by interaction (p = 0.01) for average speed. Women ran slower (p = 0.05) with a peer than alone, while men increased speed with a peer. The presence of an unfamiliar peer had a divergent effect between sexes, suggesting a possible sex difference in the effect of an exercise partner.
... The social environment refers to social aspects of the environment, such as whether or not the person is engaging in PA with someone else. It has been shown that engaging in PA with a partner is positively associated with PA behavior (Dunton et al., 2009;Gellert et al., 2011;Giles-Corti & Donovan, 2002;Plante et al., 2010), intentions to engage in PA (Rackow et al., 2014;Fox et al., 2000), and motivation for PA (Granner et al., 2007;Burke et al., 2006). In addition to the nature of the physical and social environment, one may perceive physical and social aspects of the environment to be more or less positive versus negative. ...
Article
Full-text available
Perceptions of the physical and social environment have been shown to be predictive of physical activity (PA) behavior. However, the mechanisms of this association have not been examined. Affective response to PA was examined as a putative mediator of the association between perceptions of the PA environment and subsequent PA behavior. As part of a PA promotion study, 59 low-active overweight or obese but otherwise healthy adults completed real-time assessments of the perceived physical and social PA environment, affective response to PA, and PA behavior over a 6-month period. As hypothesized, decreased latency to and greater duration of subsequent PA was predicted by engaging in PA with a partner (b = 17.24, SE = .45, p < .01), engaging in PA outdoors versus indoors (b = 3.70, SE = 0.67, p < .01), and perceived pleasantness of the physical (b = 0.59, SE = .17, p < .01) and social settings (b = 0.68, SE = .16, p < .01). Affective response to PA (a shift toward feeling good versus bad during PA) mediated the association between engaging in PA with a partner (a path: 0.53(.11), p < .01, b path: 0.42(.12), p < .01, ab path: 0.22(.08), 95% CI .09–.41) and perceived pleasantness of the physical (a path: .38(.02), p < .01; b path: .65(.23), p = .01; ab path: .25(.09), 95% CI .08–.43) and social setting (a path: .35(.02), p < .01; b path: .57(.23), p = .01; ab path: .20(.08), 95% CI .03–.37) and PA behavior, but not the association between engaging in PA outdoors versus indoors and PA behavior. These findings suggest that perceived environmental variables may have their effects on PA through the process of psychological hedonism.
... This is observed especially in the case of adolescents, as parental influence is weaker than in the case of children, and peer influence becomes more important [44]. Similar observations have been reported for the level of physical activity, as the intensity of training increases when the training is accompanied by a peer [45], or a group of peers [46], and peer pressure also increases the level of physical activity of adolescents [47]. ...
Article
Full-text available
Among the factors that may influence fruit and vegetable intake, there is a food neophobia level, but the other elements, including physical activity and place of residence, must also be taken into account as interfering ones. The aim of the study was to analyze the association between food neophobia level and the intake of fruits and vegetables in a nationwide case-control study of Polish adolescents (12-13 years), including the influence of gender, the physical activity program participation and the place of residence. The #goathletics Study was conducted among a group of 1014 adolescents, 507 individuals representative for a nationwide physical activity program "Athletics for All" participants (characterized by an active lifestyle) and 507 pair-matched individuals (characterized by sedentary behavior), while 502 were representative for urban and 512 for suburban area. The assessment of food neophobia level was based on the Food Neophobia Scale questionnaire and the assessment of fruit and vegetable intake was based on the validated food frequency questionnaire. It was observed that higher food neophobia level is associated with a lower fruit and vegetable intake, that was stated both for girls and boys, as well as both for individuals characterized by an active lifestyle and those characterized by sedentary behavior, both from urban and suburban area. Food neophobic individuals characterized by an active lifestyle and those from urban areas were characterized by a higher fruit intake than individuals characterized by sedentary behavior and those from suburban areas, from the same food neophobia category. It was found that food neophobia may reduce fruit and vegetable intake, but the physical activity education with peers may reduce the observed influence and should be applied especially in the case of neophobic individuals from suburban areas.
... While a small number of experimental studies on non-athlete adults (27,39) and children (1,43,47,48) suggest that the presence of others (i.e., peer influence) can increase the intensity, amount of physical activity (via accelerometer), or enjoyment of self-regulated exercise, our recent studies on competitive and recreational adult runners (7-10) raise the question: Is the link between training with others and individual effort consistent across different types of exercisers (e.g., non-athletes vs. athletes). Our prior studies diverge from previous findings of positive effects, showing null (9,10) or negative (7,8) responses to the presence of a peer. ...
Article
Full-text available
Carnes AJ, Mahoney SE. Cohesion is Associated with Perceived Exertion and Enjoyment during Group Running. JEPonline 2016; 19(6):24-39. The purpose of this study was to determine if interval running with a group affects average speed, perceived exertion (RPE), and/or enjoyment in recreational runners, and if these variables are associated with cohesion and/or social support. Twenty adult runners performed two trials under different social conditions (alone, group), consisting of high intensity intervals. Average interval time, enjoyment, and RPE were compared between trials. Social support and cohesion were assessed separately. There were no main or interaction effects on average speed (P>0.87), RPE (P>0.08), or enjoyment (P>0.26). Task cohesion (r =-.58, P=0.01) and social support (r =-.73, P=0.001) were negatively associated with RPE in the group condition only, and positively associated with enjoyment. Running with a group did not affect speed, enjoyment, or RPE during an interval workout. However, higher perceived task cohesion and social support were associated with lower perceived exertion and greater enjoyment during group running. While the group environment did not augment the subjects' average running speed during a high intensity interval workout, group training may nonetheless furnish psychological benefits that could aid in the completion of challenging, high intensity training sessions.
... Social comparison theory suggests that people have a drive to assess their own performance against the performance of others in the environment (Corning, Krumm, Angela, & Smitham, 2006). For example, Plante, Madden, Mann, and Lee (2010) conducted a non-VR based study involving stationary bike riding. Performance, as measured through physiological and perceived exertion, was compared between participants who were riding with either a high fit or low fit riding partner. ...
Article
Objectives: The aim of the study was to test the effect of rowing against a moderately challenging competitor compared to an extremely challenging competitor on performance and motivation. The effect of trait competitiveness was also examined. Design: Sixty-seven male participants were classified as either low (n = 34) or high in competitiveness (n = 33) and assigned to either a moderate or extreme challenge condition. Method: Participants initially rowed to set a baseline level of performance. Participants rowed again but were accompanied by an on-screen competitor that was set to a speed higher than the baseline performance to create a moderate (5% higher) or extreme (20% higher) challenge level. Results: The pattern of performance differed between the challenge conditions. Participants in the extreme challenge condition showed an initial high level of power output and distance rowed, but subsequently showed a steep decline in performance that persisted until the end of the row. In contrast, participants in the moderate challenge condition showed a lower initial level of performance followed by a more gradual decline. Moreover, these participants showed a trend of increasing performance towards the end of the row, whereas participants facing an extremely challenging competitor showed a trend of decreasing performance. Trait competitiveness did not moderate the pattern of results. Conclusions: The findings show that challenge level should be considered in the design of VR-based exercise programs and in matching competitive interactions among exercisers in virtual environments.
... Individuals feel the need to engage in socially acceptable attitudes, such as exercising, when observing others doing the same. 77 Finally, the ''drive theory'' suggests that the largest benefits will be observed at the highest intensity. With the inverted U-shaped dose-response hypothesis, it appears that moderate intensity induces the greatest benefits, when lowest and highest intensity are considered to induce null or even worse negative effects. ...
Article
The purpose of this systematic review was to provide a comprehensive analysis of the available clinical trials analyzing, in seniors, the effect of aerobic interval training (IAT) and continuous aerobic training (CAT) on peripheral Brain-derived neurotropic factor (BDNF) concentration. We identified 14 randomized or not-randomized intervention studies published up to January 2017 through a computer-assisted search (PUBMED, Pedro, and Science direct data bases). The 5 trials considering IAT and the 9 CAT totalized 988 individuals (age range: 58.1 to 77 years). The parameters of aerobic training (AT) protocol in terms of frequency and intensity are the primary determinants of the BDNF response to AT. The interpretation of the relationship between AT and BDNF signaling pathway was very challenging when specific health conditions were taken into consideration. This was more particularly true with mild cognitive impairment or depressive symptoms. These findings argue in favor of a generalization of the practice of AT and show that the type of training is not the main determining factor of the increase in BDNF level which results more from the combination of several factors such as intensity and frequency of sessions, duration of programs and also some genetic determinant coding for BDNF protein. All these factors have to be carefully addressed in future researches in that field. Thus, further researches are still necessary to better the signaling pathway by which AT contributes to better health outcomes.
... Individuals feel the need to engage in socially acceptable attitudes, such as exercising, when observing others doing the same 78 . Finally, the " drive theory" suggests that the largest benefits will be observed at the highest intensity. ...
Article
The purpose of this systematic review was to provide a comprehensive analysis of the available clinical trials analyzing, in seniors, the effect of aerobic interval training (IAT) and continuous aerobic training (CAT) on peripheral Brain-derived neurotropic factor (BDNF) concentration. We identified 14 randomized or not-randomized intervention studies published up to January 2017 through a computer-assisted search (PUBMED, Pedro, and Science direct data bases). The 5 trials considering IAT and the 9 CAT totalized 988 individuals (age range: 58.1 to 77 years). The parameters of aerobic training (AT) protocol in terms of frequency and intensity are the primary determinants of the BDNF response to AT. The interpretation of the relationship between AT and BDNF signaling pathway was very challenging when specific health conditions were taken into consideration. This was more particularly true with mild cognitive impairment or depressive symptoms. These findings argue in favor of a generalization of the practice of AT and show that the type of training is not the main determining factor of the increase in BDNF level which results more from the combination of several factors such as intensity and frequency of sessions, duration of programs and also some genetic determinant coding for BDNF protein. All these factors have to be carefully addressed in future researches in that field. Thus, further researches are still necessary to better the signaling pathway by which AT contributes to better health outcomes.
Article
The purpose of this article is to conceptualize a novel theoretical occurrence—team physical activity (PA)—and its relevance for researchers and organizations. By building a testable model of the consequences and contingencies of team PA, we integrate the science of teamwork with the scholarly domain of employee health and well-being. Hence, we clarify the construct of team PA, present a three-dimensional typology, and outline a model drawing on neuroscience, positive organizational behavior, and teams research. Our propositions and subsequent discussion proffer an outline of potential benefits for organizations when they increase the utility and frequency of team PA. We also suggest ways in which researchers can advance scholarship in this area.
Article
Full-text available
Engaging in regular moderate-to-vigorous intensity physical activity (MVPA) is crucial to reduce future health risk for individuals living with the effects of a stroke and their partners. Although numerous studies point to the importance of social factors in physical activity engagement, little is known about with whom individuals after stroke and their partners engage in physical activity with and whether different physical activity companions are uniquely associated with MVPA. Eighty-nine community-dwelling individuals after stroke (M age = 68.64, SD = 10.44; 74% male) and 83 partners (M age = 66.04, SD = 9.91; 24% male) completed 14 consecutive days of daily life assessments that included wearing physical activity monitors (accelerometers) and self-reporting physical activity companions (n = 1,961 days). Results show that average levels of MVPA were correlated between partners (r = 0.38), as were day-today MVPA fluctuations (r = 0.34). Importantly, for individuals after stroke, being active with their partner, but not with any other physical activity companion, was linked with elevated daily MVPA. In contrast, for partners of individuals after stroke, engaging in physical activity with a variety of different companions (partner, other family member, friend, colleague) was each associated with higher MVPA in daily life. For both individuals after stroke and their partners being active by oneself (without a companion) on a given day was not associated with elevated MVPA. Findings suggest that interventions that promote physical activity engagement should consider the role of meaningful others, with the partner being particularly key for individuals living with chronic health conditions.
Article
Background Bike share has been hypothesized to be a phenomenon of social contagion. The current study describes the features of the social network of annual subscribers of the Citi Bike share system in NYC and the characteristics of those who ever took a trip with another member. Methods Associations comparing members who rode with others (social) to those who rode alone (non-social) on selected study variables were examined. Social network analysis was performed to examine characteristics of the network of Citi Bike members. A social trip was determined based on start and end trip time and station locations. Results There were 241,340 active Citi Bike members with at least 365 days of membership between May 13, 2013 and December 31, 2018. Those who had taken at least one social trip (n = 139,302, 57.7%) were more likely to be older; have higher household income; have ridden a bike in NYC 12 months before membership; not own a car; self-report as physically active; self-report good health; live in a ZCTA with a Citi Bike station; and list primary reasons for membership as a faster way to get around town or as friends and family joining. Those who never took a social trip were more likely to have requested safety tips from Citi Bike; and to report their primary reason for membership as an alternative to public transportation, personal health and fitness, or support for the program. The social network of Citi Bike members was composed of 139,302 members with 164,735 unique connections to other members. The average number of connections per social member was 2.4 and the maximum was 66. The network was not very dense or well connected with 19,809 subnetworks. Conclusion Social members differed from non-social members in several ways. Understanding the characteristics of key network members could play a part in promoting and encouraging bike share usage. In particular, organized social trips could increase bike share usage among women.
Article
Full-text available
This study sought to determine whether exercising with another person improves the psychological benefits of exercise relative to exercising alone. One hundred and fifty-five participants completed a series of questionnaires measuring levels of tension, calmness, energy and tiredness before exercise, immediately following exercise and later that day before bedtime. Participants exercised on a stationary laboratory bicycle for 30min either alone, with another person of the same sex or with a person of the opposite sex. Results suggest that exercising alone or with others did not differentially impact upon mood. All groups equally experienced mood benefits after exercising. Depression was found to be positively correlated with perceived exertion and women were found to report greater exertion when exercising alone than when exercising in mixed pairs.
Article
Full-text available
This study investigated whether the effects of self-regulatory cognitions and social influence variables on healthy behaviors – nutrition and physical activity – vary across countries. Adolescents (N = 2387) from Hungary, Poland, Turkey, and the USA participated in the study. Measures included self-efficacy, future orientation, social comparison orientation (SCO), perceived behaviors of peers, as well as age and gender. These variables were included in the path model as predictors of healthy behaviors. The role of a country as a moderator was also examined. Results showed that self-efficacy, SCO, and perceived behaviors of peers predicted both health-promoting behaviors in all four countries. Some differences were found regarding the role of future orientation and gender.
Article
Full-text available
On the basis of predictions from social comparison theory (L. Festinger, 1954) and informed by findings from the social comparison and eating disorder literatures, hypotheses were tested regarding the social comparison behaviors of women with eating disorder symptoms and their asymptomatic peers. Results indicated differentiating social-cognitive processes for these groups. First, a greater tendency to engage in everyday social comparison predicted the presence of eating disorder symptoms. Second, social comparisons of one's own body to images of other women's bodies using a range of shapes and sizes also differentiated these 2 groups, with more self-defeating self-appraisals predicting the presence of eating disorder symptoms. Finally, self-esteem partially mediated the relationship between body-related social comparisons and eating disorder symptom status. Results are discussed in terms of their implications for research and practice. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
Article
Full-text available
Two studies examined the reliability and validity of the Physical Activity Enjoyment Scale (PACES). In Study 1, each of 37 undergraduates rode an exercise bicycle under control and external focus conditions. As predicted, Ss reported enjoying the exercise more, as measured by the PACES, in the external focus condition. Moreover, there was a significant negative correlation in the control condition between Ss PACES scores and their scores on a measure of boredom proneness. In Study 2, each of 37 undergraduates rode an exercise bicycle and jogged on a minitrampoline in separate sessions; each then chose one of these activities for their 3rd session. As predicted, there was a significant relationship between Ss PACES ratings (completed after each activity) and their choices of activity. Test–retest reliability was high for jogging and moderate for bicycling. The PACES had high internal consistency in both studies. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
Article
Objective: To encourage increased participation in physical activity among Americans of all ages by issuing a public health recommendation on the types and amounts of physical activity needed for health promotion and disease prevention. Participants: A planning committee of five scientists was established by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the American College of Sports Medicine to organize a workshop. This committee selected 15 other workshop discussants on the basis of their research expertise in issues related to the health implications of physical activity. Several relevant professional or scientific organizations and federal agencies also were represented. Evidence: The panel of experts reviewed the pertinent physiological, epidemiologic, and clinical evidence, including primary research articles and recent review articles. Consensus process: Major issues related to physical activity and health were outlined, and selected members of the expert panel drafted sections of the paper from this outline. A draft manuscript was prepared by the planning committee and circulated to the full panel in advance of the 2-day workshop. During the workshop, each section of the manuscript was reviewed by the expert panel. Primary attention was given to achieving group consensus concerning the recommended types and amounts of physical activity. A concise "public health message" was developed to express the recommendations of the panel. During the ensuing months, the consensus statement was further reviewed and revised and was formally endorsed by both the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the American College of Sports Medicine. Conclusion: Every US adult should accumulate 30 minutes or more of moderate-intensity physical activity on most, preferably all, days of the week.
Article
What factors motivate individuals to participate in sport or fitness activities? This question has been of great interest to researchers. However, most studies on motives have considered only a single or a few variables in their investigation. The purpose of this research is to explore the wide range of factors that motivate people to participate in a fitness activity, namely aerobics. To take into account the broad range of individual and social factors that influence participation in a fitness activity, social identity theory is the basis for a qualitative investigation. The findings that show motives for participation are divergent across groups of similar individuals. The motives that emerged were (a) the atmosphere of an aerobics class, (b) the physical and psychological benefits, (c) social ties related to aerobics, (d) social comparisons, (e) obsession with aerobics, and (f) the feelings participants associate with doing aerobics. A proposed framework of fitness participation is developed based on the findings that could serve as a foundation for future empirical studies.
Article
The unique and interactive effects of mirrored exercise environments and the presence of co-exercisers on sedentary women's exercise-induced feeling states (FS) were examined. Participants (n = 92; mean age = 20.2) performed 20 min of moderate intensity exercise in one of four environments: (a) alone/mirrored, (b) not alone/mirrored, (c) alone/unmirrored, or (d) not alone/unmirrored. FS were measured pre-, mid-, and 5 min post-exercise. Self-consciousness, perceived social evaluation and social comparisons were also assessed post-exercise. Multilevel modeling procedures indicated that women in the not alone/mirrored environment experienced smaller increases in post-exercise revitalization than the other conditions (p
Article
Presents a description of the theory and research underlying the present author's (see record 1979-30156-001) Activation–Deactivation Adjective Check List (AD ACL) and describes a study involving 453 undergraduates that investigated the stability of factor structure of this test as a function of different rating-scale formats. The 2 core dimensions, energetic arousal (including tiredness) and tense arousal (including calmness), are believed associated with a variety of arousal-related characteristics, including physiological changes, sleep–wake cycles, exercise effects, various mood states, and various concomitants of stress. Analyses indicated that the factor structure of activation descriptors remained essentially the same with each scale. The importance of the underlying arousal model in relation to the activation descriptors is discussed. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
Article
The specific goal of this volume is to bring together various perspectives and approaches that share a common theme: applying social comparison theory to health-related issues. It also illustrates the broad range of health-related issues to which social comparison theory is applied. Some of these issues and topics are health protective behaviors, such as condom use, and health impairing behaviors, such as smoking and drinking; perceptions of risk; coping with serious diseases, such as cancer and chronic pain disorders; preparation for surgery and postoperative recovery; stress coping during adolescence; seeking medical care; occupational stress and burnout; and depression and well-being. We are hopeful that the present volume will contribute not only to the continued development of health psychology but to the evolution of social comparison theory as well. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)