Does Aerobic Exercise Really Enhance Self-Esteem in Children? A Prospective Evaluation in 3rd - 5th Graders

By Walters, Scott T.; Martin, John E. | Journal of Sport Behavior, March 2000 | Go to article overview

Does Aerobic Exercise Really Enhance Self-Esteem in Children? A Prospective Evaluation in 3rd - 5th Graders


Walters, Scott T., Martin, John E., Journal of Sport Behavior


Despite the assumption that aerobic exercise has been empirically linked to high self-esteem in children, little research has been done in the area. The purpose of the present study was to examine the link between aerobic exercise, and both self-esteem and problem behaviors in children. A group of 67 children grades 3-5 received an intensive aerobic exercise intervention and a group of 80 grade-matched children received a minimally aerobic exercise program. The duration of the intervention period was 13 weeks. The Self-Perception Profile for Children (SPPC) was administered to both groups pre and post-intervention. Parents similarly completed the Behavioral Rating Index for Children to assess the level of problem behaviors pre and post-intervention. Repeated measures ANOVAs revealed that the exercise curriculum did not significantly improve any of the six SPPC sub-scores of the experimental group as compared to the control group, nor did it diminish their level of problem behaviors. Furthermore, the compariso n group improved their General Self-Worth sub-scores as compared to the experimental group. In general, the results of this study do not support the conclusion that aerobic exercise is linked to increases in self-concept. An alternate possibility for these findings may be the presence of a ceiling effect, where both groups began and finished the implementation period scoring well above average. Additional research is recommended to examine both the immediate and long-term efficacies of children's exercise programs in promoting self-concept.

It seems that the Greeks were correct in espousing, "A sound mind in a sound body." More than two thousand years later it is well documented that vigorous and regular exercise has numerous physical and psychological benefits. Aspects of this phenomenon have been widely studied using both psychometric and physiological means (Biddle, 1993; Calfas & Taylor 1994; Hamachek, 1986; Morgan, 1985; Raglin, 1990; Seraganian, 1993). In a consensus statement issued by the National Institute of Mental Health (Morgan, 1985), it was concluded that there is general agreement that, in adults: (1) Generally, physical fitness is positively associated with mental health and feelings of well-being; (2) Exercise is linked to a reduction in stress in many populations; (3) Exercise has been used effectively to treat mild to moderate depression; (4) Exercise is usually associated with reductions in anxiety disorders such as neuroticism; and (5) Exercise has beneficial emotional effects across all ages and in both sexes.

A positive link between aerobic exercise and self-esteem in adult populations has been abundantly documented (Raglin, 1990). Among older children and adolescents (approximately grade six and up) good evidence exists for such a relationship as well (Calfas & Taylor, 1994). In terms of younger, elementary-aged children, the most comprehensive literature analysis done in recent years (Gruber, 1986) concluded that physical fitness does contribute to an increase in self-esteem. Analyzing 27 controlled experimental studies, Gruber found an average effect size of .47. Although all activities were shown to be effective in all populations, the greatest gains were observed in handicapped (.57 effect size) as compared to normal children (.34) and for aerobic regimens (.89) rather than creative (.29), sports (.40), or motor skill (.32) activities.

Although a number of studies have been done using special populations of children and non-aerobic interventions, since 1980 only three published studies have investigated the effects of aerobic exercise on the self-concept of typically developing elementary-aged children. Percy, Dziuban and Martin (1981) assessed the effects of a seven-week distance running program on fifteen 5th and 6th graders. They found an average post-intervention effect size of 1.41 on the Coopersmith Self-Esteem Inventory (1967) as compared to a matched control group, suggesting a modest improvement in self-esteem as a result of running. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited article

Does Aerobic Exercise Really Enhance Self-Esteem in Children? A Prospective Evaluation in 3rd - 5th Graders
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this article
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.