Academic journal article The Spanish Journal of Psychology

Influence of Perceived Sport Competence and Body Attractiveness on Physical Activity and Other Healthy Lifestyle Habits in Adolescents

Academic journal article The Spanish Journal of Psychology

Influence of Perceived Sport Competence and Body Attractiveness on Physical Activity and Other Healthy Lifestyle Habits in Adolescents

Article excerpt

The purpose of this study was to test an explanatory model of the relationships between physical self-concept and some healthy habits. A sample of 472 adolescents aged 16 to 20 answered different questionnaires assessing physical selfconcept, physical activity, intention to be physically active and consumption of alcohol and tobacco. The results of the structural equation model showed that perceived sport competence positively correlated with current physical activity. Body attractiveness positively correlated with physical activity in boys and negatively in girls. Current physical activity positively correlated with the intention to be physically active in the future and negatively with the consumption of alcohol and tobacco. Nevertheless, this last relationship was only significant in boys. The results are discussed in connection with the promotion of healthy lifestyle guidelines among adolescents. This model shows the importance of physical selfconcept for engaging in physical activity in adolescence. It also suggests that physical activity is associated with the intention to continue being physically active and with healthy lifestyle habits.

Keywords: physical activity, physical self-concept, healthy habits, adolescence, theory of planned behavior.

El objetivo de este estudio fue testar un modelo explicativo de las relaciones entre el autoconcepto físico y algunos hábitos saludables. Se utilizó una muestra de 472 adolescentes, con edades comprendidas entre los 16 y 20 años, que respondieron a diferentes cuestionarios que evaluaban el autoconcepto físico, la actividad física, la intención de ser físicamente activo y el consumo de alcohol y tabaco. Los resultados del modelo de ecuaciones estructurales mostraron que la percepción de competencia deportiva correlacionaba positivamente con la actividad física actual. La percepción de atractivo corporal correlacionaba positivamente con la actividad física en los chicos y negativamente en las chicas. La actividad física actual correlacionaba positivamente con la intención de ser físicamente activo en el futuro y negativamente con el consumo de alcohol y tabaco. Sin embargo, esta última relación sólo fue significativa en los chicos. Los resultados se discuten en relación a la promoción de pautas de vida saludable entre los adolescentes. Este modelo muestra la importancia del autoconcepto físico para el compromiso con la actividad física en la adolescencia. Además, sugiere que la práctica de actividad física está asociada con la intención de continuar siendo físicamente activo y con hábitos de vida saludables.

Palabras clave: actividad física, autoconcepto físico, hábitos saludables, adolescencia, teoría del comportamiento planeado.

Numerous studies demonstrate the importance physical activity has on human development. It has been reported that children who acquire healthy lifestyle habits at an early age may continue over time (Pate, Baranowski, Dowda, & Trost, 1996). Specifically, participation in physical activities on a regular basis helps growth and development (Malina, Bouchard, & Bar-Or, 2004), maintains optimal skill and health (Armstrong & Welsman, 1997) and prevents diseases that affect physical and psychological aspects, such as obesity (Bar-Or et al., 1998), anxiety and depression (Alfermann & Stoll, 2000; Fox, 2000). However, many children and adolescents are not committed to physical exercise and, therefore, they do not reap the associated health benefits (García-Ferrando, 2006; Taylor & Sallis, 1997). Furthermore, adolescence is a stage in which physical activity starts to decrease consistently (e.g. Caspersen, Pereira, & Curran, 2000). This study was designed to test an explanatory model of engagement in physical activity and the adoption of healthy lifestyle behaviors in older adolescents.

The researchers implemented various social-cognitive models to try to encourage children and adolescents to participate in physical activity. …

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