Academic journal article Social Behavior and Personality: an international journal

Older Adults' Participation in Ballroom Dancing: Practical Application of the Sport Commitment Model

Academic journal article Social Behavior and Personality: an international journal

Older Adults' Participation in Ballroom Dancing: Practical Application of the Sport Commitment Model

Article excerpt

People spend much of their time in their early years striving for success so that they will have comfort in their old age. However, paradoxically, older people need an incentive to restructure their lives after retirement, for example, an opportunity to participate with peers in physical activities (Berryman-Miller, 1988). Previous researchers have found that older adults participate in serious leisure activities as a way to create and enrich social connections (Lyons & Dionigi, 2007; Son, Kerstetter, Yarnal, & Baker, 2007); thus, leisure service providers need to create a variety of such activities (Der Ananian & Janke, 2010). In recent years, ballroom dancing has emerged as a popular leisure activity for older adults in Taiwan, for whom it is a social as well as a physical activity (Li, 2010). Further, retirees have time to become involved in regular dance classes, which enable them to maintain the quality of their lives (McAdam, 1988).

The Importance of Physical Fitness for Older Adults

People aged 65 and older account for 12.21% of the total population of 23,456,545 in Taiwan, which is a 10.5% increase in that age group in the past 3 years (Executive Yuan, 2015). Physical inactivity of older adults places a huge financial and social burden on society, and the health benefits of being physically active have been widely acknowledged. Current recommendations for physical activity among older adults are 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity or 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity aerobic activity each week, and a stretching routine for 10 minutes several days a week (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2014). Hirsch et al. (2010) showed that moderately active men and women lived 1.3 and 1.1 years longer, respectively, than did sedentary individuals. As a physical activity, ballroom dancing is a low-impact aerobic workout, and it can induce increases of 60% to 70% of the maximal heart rate (Wright, 2002).

The Sport Commitment Model

Ballroom dancing was introduced in Taiwan by retreating foreign soldiers after World War II and it has gradually become popular with people of all ages after a nationwide ban on dancing was lifted in 1987 (Lee, 2000). However, leisure service providers face difficulties in retaining older dancers. Previous researchers have shown that about half of the individuals taking part in sport drop out within a short period of time (Dishman, 2001). To find out how committed older adult ballroom dancers are to ballroom dancing, we used the sport commitment model (SCM), which, according to Casper and Andrew (2008), was adapted from social exchange theory, and initially derived from a combination of the investment model (Rusbult, 1980) and Kelley's (1983) model of romantic relationships. Scanlan, Carpenter, Schmidt, Simons, and Keeler's (1993) development of the SCM was based on evidence that enjoyment, social support and constraints, involvement alternatives and opportunities, and personal investment are key factors in loyalty and commitment in sport (see also Carpenter, Scanlan, Simons, & Lobel, 1993). Scanlan et al. defined sport commitment as a psychological state representing the desire and resolve to continue participation in any sport or sport program. Further, they stated that personal investment, involvement alternatives, involvement opportunities, sport enjoyment, social support, and social constraints may increase or decrease sport commitment. Sport enjoyment is a positive affective response to a sport experience, reflecting generalized feelings such as pleasure, liking, and fun. Involvement alternatives are the attractiveness of the most preferred alternative(s) to continued participation in the current activity. Personal investment involves personal resources, such as time, effort, and money, which are put into the activity and cannot be recovered if participation is discontinued. Social constraints are social expectation or norms that create feelings of obligation to remain in the current activity. …

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