Introduction. In the last couple of decades, obesity rates have increased steadily.
Understanding and increasing physical activity is a key to tackling this issue, especially
for college students. Additionally, these young adults are entering into more intimate and
committed relationships. The connection between exercise and dating relationships is
unknown, as studies of social influences on exercise have neglected this central
relationship in college students’ lives. Another feature to understanding both exercise
and dating relationship patterns are mood and trait associations. A review of the existing
research connects these four variables and offers possible models for their mechanisms.
Methods. Analyses included data for mood and traits from the Positive Affect and
Negative Affect Schedule (PANAS) and the Multidimensional Personality Questionnaire
(MPQ), respectively. Novel measures of the exercise and relationship variables were
developed from the Motivational Structure Questionnaire (MSQ). The relationship
variables included dating goals, relationship satisfaction, and dating relationship status.
Results. All analyses performed for total group and separately for each sex, and many sex
differences were found. Analyses replicated previous associations found between mood
and both physical activity and dating relationship variables. For novel findings, various
types of analyses (correlations, ANOVAs, chi-square, and multiple regression) indicated
associations between the exercise and dating relationship variables. Analyses also
included mediation of negative affect between exercise and relationship satisfaction.
Lastly, the investigation explored associations between alternative physical activity
measures as well as desired body change, including weight loss, with the mood, exercise, and dating relationship variables. Conclusions. Dating relationship patterns were associated with exercise variables, and negative affect may mediate this association for relationship satisfaction. Sex differences were found.
University of Minnesota Ph.D. dissertation. December 2008. Advisors: Dr. Eric Klinger, Dr. Auke Tellegen. 1 computer file (PDF); xvii, 236 pages, appendices A-D.
Waltman, Melissa L..
Exercise and Dating Relationship Patterns of University Students: Associations with Mood and Traits.
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