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Medicina dello Sport 2010 December;63(4):465-83


language: English, Italian

Is sense of coherence needed to keep youth physically active?

Bronikowski M.

Department of Methodology of Teaching Physical Education, University School of Physical Education, Poznan, Poland


AIM: Studies on coherence indicate that is it an important resource in health-related behaviors, though still more evaluation of the lasting effects of various intervention programs is needed. In this paper, sustainability of the changes in health-related attitudes based on a concept of developing sense of coherence through self-responsible physical activity was tested. It also aimed at examining the associations between frequency of leisure-time physical activity, physical fitness, body constituency and sense of coherence in youth.
METHODS: The baseline of this study included a randomly selected sample of 13-year-olds who participated in the experimental intervention program carried in three schools in Poznan in 2005-2008. From a total of 199 adolescent boys 38 from experimental group and 34 boys from control one were followed 15 months after ceasing of the program. From 170 girls it was 33 from experimental and 32 from control group who were randomly selected for the study. Among variables were: physical fitness, body constituency, frequency of leisure-time physical activity and sense of coherence. All the instruments were distributed in pre-test, post-test and follow up examinations parallel to the fitness testing. Analysis of variance was used to evaluate the level of changes and associations between the variables. All measures were adjusted for baseline biological age of mean maturation rate, assessed by a qualified physician.
RESULTS: Boys and girls from intervention groups maintained high level of leisure-time physical activity 15 months after ceasing of the program. This has effected in higher level of physical fitness. No distinctive differences were found in case of body constituency between experimental and control groups except for muscle mass and sum of skinfolds in girls. In sense of coherence gradual increase was noticed from pre-test to follow up in experimental boys, while in girls it was increased at post-test but later at follow up it dropped. In control groups level of coherence was declining during the whole duration of the study.
CONCLUSION: The findings confirm effectiveness of a multi-level intervention designed to increase sense of coherence and promote self-responsibility in health-related lifestyle, which led to an increase in frequency of leisure physical activity. Sustainable effects of this intervention were maintained 15 months after ceasing of the program in experimental groups, whereas in control ones a decline in both frequency of physical activity and level of physical fitness was observed.

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