Be well! A strengths-based approach to increasing physical activity and enhancing wellbeing

UNCG Author/Contributor (non-UNCG co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Susan S. Harding (Creator)
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG )
Web Site:
Diane Gill

Abstract: Today’s female college students face high mental health concerns and low levels of physical activity (PA). The college setting is an ideal environment for shaping positive behaviors that serve students well during and after their college years. The purpose of this study was to develop and implement a 4-week program designed to increase PA participation, motivation, and enjoyment for College students who are enrolled in the Wellness for Life course and, ultimately, enhance their wellbeing. This study utilized a mixed methods approach. The program was developed in line with promoting self-determined motivation and positive affect and implemented as a 4-week module within a semester-long Wellness for Life course. Pre- and post-measures of PA motivation, enjoyment and behavior were completed via survey. The post-survey included an evaluation of the module, and students had an option to participate in a semi-structured interview. Paired sample t-tests were used to determine differences in participants’ pre- and post-four-week program overall wellbeing, PA enjoyment, motivation, and PA level as measured respectively by the World Health Organization Well-Being Index-5 (WHO-5), Physical Activity Enjoyment Scale (PACES), Intrinsic Motivation Inventory (IMI), and Godin Leisure-Time Physical Activity Questionnaire (Godin). Of the five pre-post measures, significant (p < .05) differences were found for motivation (IMI) and enjoyment (PACES), with higher scores for both at post. Responses to the open-ended survey questions and interviews showed that participants enjoyed the PA sessions and perceived them as fun. They welcomed the opportunity to be social, described as “got to talk with someone,” “felt more connected with others in my group,” and “met other people in ways that we wouldn’t before.” Participants enjoyed time to “play,” “laugh and have fun,” “and find a fun way to exercise.” Overall, findings from the four-week PA program were limited but show promise that a program with activities that are fun, moderate intensity and social may promote PA among college women. Female college students enjoyed the PA sessions, which were designed to be fun, moderate, and social, and perceived them as fun. When asked what would make the PA sessions better, the top reply was, “Nothing.” This reply confirms that for the most part the program matched students’ preferences for PA and the specific activities were enjoyed by participants.

Additional Information

Language: English
Date: 2020
Affect, College, Enjoyment, Females, Physical activity, Wellbeing
Physical education for college students
Women college students $x Health and hygiene
Women college students $x Mental health

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