Skip to main content
Article thumbnail
Location of Repository

Variability in the Affective Exercise Experience of Low-active Women: Exploring the Role of Cognitive Appraisal During Exercise

By Amy Welch


A popular avenue of research in the field of exercise psychology in recent years has been the exploration of affective responses to acute exercise. However, there has\ud been little research into the affective experiences of habitually low-active women during exercise and the mechanisms that govern these responses. This is surprising\ud given the current high rates of inactivity amongst women and the potential importance of affective associations for volitional behaviour. In addition, this area of research has\ud been hindered by methodological inconsistencies and limitations, which are arguably the reasons behind indefinite evidence of a dose-response relationship between exercise and affect (Ekkekakis & Petruzzello, 2000). The studies presented in this thesis were designed to investigate affective responses to exercise in low-active females from a holistic perspective. Specifically, the dual-model model (Ekkekakis, 2003) was employed as a theoretical framework, and the research sought to take into consideration the methodological concerns associated with previous studies.\ud \ud \ud The first study, a pilot investigation, demonstrated widespread interindividual variation in inactive female's affective responses during both high and low intensity\ud exercise bouts. Study two was designed to investigate the affective responses of twenty low-active females throughout an incremental exercise test to volitional exhaustion,\ud relative to metabolic demarcations of exercise intensity. Results of this study indicated that even though participants' affective valence improved from pre- to post-exercise, a mean decline began before the ventilatory threshold (VT) was reached (i. e., during\ud `moderate' intensity exercise). Study three manipulated twenty-four low-active female participants' perceptions of exercise duration to test the influence of cognitive appraisal of the task upon affective responses during `moderate' intensity exercise (i. e., at 90% VT), and the temporal relationship between self-efficacy and affect during exercise. Again, participants were more positive post-exercise than pre-exercise, but a progressive decline in affective valence during exercise was also observed that was more pronounced when participants were unaware of the exercise duration. Furthermore, the results of this study indicated that self-efficacy perceptions explained\ud substantial variance in affective valence during exercise. This relationship was stronger for self-efficacy measured during exercise than before exercise, and when exercise\ud duration was unknown compared to known. In the final study, six women who participated in both studies two and three were interviewed about their experiences of the exercise bouts they completed. A range of experiences were captured in narrative profiles and paired with quantitative data in order to comprehensively explore interindividual variability from the participants' perspectives. As a result, specific sources of self-efficacy and affect during exercise were identified.\ud \ud \ud Overall, the results presentedin this thesis revealed that even though low-active women felt better after exercise, affective valence during exercise declined as intensity\ud increased. Also, a substantial amount of interindividual variance at `moderate' intensity could be explained by cognitive appraisal factors, particularly self-efficacy perceptions during exercise. By utilising metabolic demarcations to accurately define exercise intensity, this research advocates the importance of a mind-body approach in exercise psychology research. This distinction, along with the mixed quantitative-qualitative methodology that was employed, enabled detailed exploration of individual differences in the exercise experience and highlighted important avenues for future research. Theoretical consequences of the research are discussed throughout the thesis, a sare the practical implications this research has for effective exercise prescription with inexperienced female exercisers

Publisher: Institute of Membrane and Systems Biology (Leeds)
Year: 2007
OAI identifier:

Suggested articles


  1. (1998). 191 Appendices 1. Medical and physical activity questionnaire 2. Participant information and informed consent form 3. Borg's
  2. (1980). A Circumplex Model of Affect. doi
  3. (2001). A description of self-talk in exercise. doi
  4. (1986). A goal-affect analysis of everyday situational choices. doi
  5. (1986). A new method for detecting anaerobic threshold by gas exchange.
  6. (1979). A perceptual-motor processing model of emotion. In doi
  7. (1992). A power primer. doi
  8. (2007). A transdisciplinary model integrating genetic, physiological, and psychological correlates of voluntary exercise. doi
  9. (1991). Acquired motivation and affective opponent-processes. In doi
  10. (1986). Activation-Deactivation Adjective Checklist: Current overview and structural analysis. doi
  11. (2006). Active People Survey. Retrieved
  12. (1999). Acute aerobic exercise and affect -Current status, problems and prospects regarding dose-response. doi
  13. (2004). Acute affective response to a moderate-intensity exercise stimulus predicts physical activity participation 6 and 12 months later. doi
  14. (1993). Acute mood responses to maximal and submaximal exercise in active and inactive men. Psychology and Health, doi
  15. (1997). Adherence to physical activity. doi
  16. (1989). Affect Grid: A single item scale of pleasure and arousal. doi
  17. (1998). Affective responses of physically active and sedentary individuals during and after moderate aerobic exercise.
  18. (1997). Affective responses to acute exercise: A test of opponent-process theory.
  19. (2006). Affective responses to acute exercise: Toward a psychobiological dose-response model.
  20. (2004). Affective, but hardly effective: a reply to Gauvin and Rejeski doi
  21. (2004). Am I nearly there? The effect of anticipated running distance on perceived exertion and attentional focus.
  22. (1995). American College of Sports Medicine. doi
  23. (2001). An exploratory investigation of the relationship between proxy-efficacy, selfefficacy, and exercise attendance. doi
  24. (2001). Analysis of the affect measurement conundrum in exercise psychology: II. A conceptual and methodological critique of the Exercise-induced Feeling Inventory. Psychology of Sport and Exercise. doi
  25. (2002). Analysis of the affect measurement conundrum in exercise psychology: IV. A conceptual case for the affect circumplex. doi
  26. (2001). Analysis of the affect measurement conundrum in exercise psychology. doi
  27. (1998). Associative and dissociative cognitive strategies in exercise and running: 20 years later, what do we know? The Sport Psychologist,
  28. (2004). At Least Five a Week: Evidence on the impact of physical activity and its relationship to health. A Report from the Chief Medical Officer. doi
  29. (1998). Borg's perceived exertion and pain scales. doi
  30. (2001). Calm Energy: How People Regulate Mood With Food and Exercise.
  31. (1999). Cognitive and physiological correlates of affect during a maximal exercise test. doi
  32. (1998). Cognitive orientations in marathon running and "hitting the wall". doi
  33. (1996). Concept of an extracellular regulation of muscular metabolic rate during heavy exercise in humans by psychophysiological feedback. doi
  34. (1995). Controlling the false discovery rate: A practical and powerful approach to multiple testing.
  35. (1999). Core affect, prototypical emotional episodes, and other things called emotion: Dissecting the elephant. doi
  36. Correlates of adults' participation in physical activity: Review and update. doi
  37. (1998). Cortisol and affective responses to exercise. doi
  38. (1991). Culture and the self: Implications for cognition, emotion, and motivation. doi
  39. (1988). Development and validation of brief measures of positive and negative affect: The PANAS scales. doi
  40. (2001). Disentangling substance from rhetoric: a rebuttal to Ekkekakis and Petruzzello. doi
  41. (1996). Domains of aerobic function and their limiting parameters. In doi
  42. (1999). Effect of altered body C02 stores on pulmonary and gas exchange dynamics during incremental exercise in humans. doi
  43. (2005). Effect of anticipation during unknown or unexpected exercise duration on rating of perceived exertion, affect, and physiological function. doi
  44. (1987). Effect of interbreath fluctuations on characterizing gas exchange kinetics.
  45. (2004). Effects of cognitive strategy and exercise setting on running performance, perceived exertion, affect, and satisfaction. doi
  46. (1979). Emotion, pain, and physical illness. doi
  47. (2002). Environmental factors associated with adults' participation in physical activity: A review. doi
  48. (1996). Ethics and process in the narrative study of lives (v. 4). Sage: Thousand Oaks, doi
  49. (1977). Evidence for a three-factor theory of emotions. doi
  50. (1978). Evidence of convergent validity on the dimensions ofaffect.
  51. (1995). Examination of the relationship between self-efficacy and affect at varying levels of aerobic exercise intensity. doi
  52. (1999). Exercise intensity and selfefficacy effects on anxiety reduction in healthy, older adults.
  53. (2006). Exercise Interventions for Mental Health: A Quantitative and Qualitative Review. Clinical Psychology: Science and Practice, doi
  54. (1996). Existential phenomenology: Emphasizing the experience of the athlete in sport psychology research. The Sport Psychologist,
  55. (1995). Exploration of the relationship between exercise behavior and exercise identity.
  56. (2001). Exploring self-talk and affective states in sport. doi
  57. (2000). Extracting meaning from past affective experiences: The importance of peaks, ends, and specific emotions. doi
  58. (1993). Factor analysis of cognitions during running: association with mood change.
  59. (1985). From intentions to actions: A theory of planned behavior. doi
  60. (2002). Game Plan: a strategy for delivering government's sport and physical activity objectives.
  61. (2000). Handbook of Qualitative Research. Thousand Oaks, doi
  62. (1999). Health Survey for England doi
  63. (1974). Historical origins of the health belief model. Health Education Monographs,
  64. (2007). How do I feel about the behavior? The interplay of affective associations with behaviors and cognitive beliefs as influences on physical activity behavior. doi
  65. (2002). How do we talk to each other? Writing qualitative research for quantitative readers. doi
  66. (2002). How do you feel? Interoception: the sense of the physiological condition of the body, doi
  67. (2006). Human exercise tolerance and the parameters of aerobic function. Unpublished doctoral dissertation,
  68. (2005). I feel totally at one, totally alive and totally happy': a psycho-social explanation of the physical activity and mental health relationship. doi
  69. (1985). Influence of vigorous exercise on mood state. Behavior Therapy,
  70. (1991). Interviewing as qualitative research. doi
  71. (2005). Living, and thinking about it: two perspectives on life. In doi
  72. (1999). Manipulating self-efficacy in the exercise environment in women: Influences on affective responses. doi
  73. (1989). Measures of Emotion. In doi
  74. (1998). Measuring exercise-related self-efficacy. In
  75. (1986). Mental Health. In doi
  76. (1985). Metamotivational dominance: a multimethod validation of reversal theory constructs. doi
  77. (2004). Negotiating a Physical Identity: Girls, doi
  78. (2000). New writing practices in qualitative research.
  79. (1999). Objective happiness. In
  80. (1993). On the affective benefits of acute aerobic exercise: Taking stock after twenty years of research. In
  81. (1969). On the whys and wherefores of E, P, and A.
  82. (1997). On writing qualitative research: Living by words.
  83. (1973). On-line computer analysis and breath-by-breath graphical display of exercise function tests.
  84. (1996). Patients' memories of painful medical treatments: Real-time and retrospective evaluations of two minimally invasive procedures. doi
  85. (1985). Perceived exertion: An active or passive process?
  86. (2000). Physical activity and mental health (pp. doi
  87. (1997). Physical activity and mental health. doi
  88. (2001). Physical activity and mental health. In doi
  89. (1996). Physical activity and psychological wellbeing: Knowledge base, current issues, and caveats. doi
  90. (1995). Physical activity and public health: a recommendation from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the American College of Sports Medicine.
  91. (2000). Physical activity, self-esteem, and self-efficacy relationships in older adults: A randomized controlled trial. doi
  92. (2004). Physiological Principles of Clinical Exercise Testing. Paper presented at the European Respiratory Society Annual Congress: Contemporary dimensions in cardiopulmonary exercise testing and interpretation,
  93. (1971). Physiological role of pleasure. doi
  94. (2003). Pleasure and displeasure from the body: Perspectives from exercise. doi
  95. (1994). Pleasure systems in the brain.
  96. (1992). Pleasure: the common currency. doi
  97. (1997). Positive and negative affective responses of trained and untrained subjects during and after aerobic exercise. doi
  98. (2000). Promoting physical activity: The new imperative for public health. doi
  99. (2004). Psycho-social and socioenvironmental correlates of sport identity and sport participation in secondary schoolage children.
  100. (1977). Psychologic characterization of the elite distance runner. Annals of the NYAcademy of Sciences, doi
  101. (2001). Psychological affect at different exercise intensities in active and inactive females. Unpublished undergraduate dissertation,
  102. (1996). Psychological affect at different ratings of perceived exertion in high- and low-active women: A study using a production protocol. Perceptual and Motor Skills, doi
  103. (2005). Quantifying athlete self-talk. doi
  104. (1998). Recommendations for self-statement inventories: Use of valence, end points, frequency, and relative frequency. Cognitive Therapy and Research,
  105. (2005). Relations of self-motivation, perceived physical condition, and exercise-induced changes in revitalization and exhaustion with attendance in women initiating a moderate cardiovascular exercise regimen. doi
  106. (1998). Relationship between self-efficacy, exercise intensity, and feeling states in a sedentary population during and following an acute bout of exercise.
  107. (2001). Research methods in sport and exercise psychology: Quantitative and qualitative issues. doi
  108. (1994). Responses to Physical Exertion in Active and Inactive Males and Females.
  109. (2002). Self-efficacy and attributional processes in physical activity. In doi
  110. (2002). Self-efficacy effects on feeling states in women. doi
  111. (1994). Self-efficacy influences feeling states associated with acute exercise.
  112. (1992). Self-efficacy relationships with affective and exertion responses to exercise. doi
  113. (2007). Social environmental factors and psychological responses to acute exercise for socially physique anxious females. doi
  114. (1986). Social foundations of thoughts and action: A social cognitive theory. Englewood Cliffs,
  115. (2005). Some like it vigorous: Measuring individual differences in the preference for and tolerance of exercise intensity. doi
  116. (2000). Sport science and the promise of phenomenology: doi
  117. (2003). Subjective exercise experiences during and after high and low intensity exercise in active and inactive adult females - Some preliminary findings.
  118. (2002). Telling tales in sport and physical activity: A qualitative journey. doi
  119. (2001). Temporal dynamics and dimensional specificity of the affective response to exercise of varying intensity: Differing pathways to a common outcome.
  120. (1993). Testing four competing theories of health-protective behavior. doi
  121. (1986). Textbook of work physiology, 3rd edn.
  122. (2002). The affective beneficence of vigorous exercise revisited. doi
  123. (1938). The behavior of organisms.
  124. (1989). The biopsychology of mood and arousal. doi
  125. (2006). The effect of acute aerobic exercise on positive activated affect: A meta-analysis. doi
  126. (2000). The effect of adding lower intensity work on perceived aversiveness of exercise.
  127. (2000). The effect of age on the power/duration relationship and the intensity domain limits in sedentary men. doi
  128. (2005). The effect of motivational music on submaximal exercise. doi
  129. (1995). The effects of running, environment, and attentional focus on athletes' catecholamine and cortisol levels and mood. doi
  130. (1993). The Exercise-Induced Feeling Inventory: development and initial validation.
  131. (2004). The influence of exercise duration and cognitions during running on feeling states in an indoor running track environment. doi
  132. (1998). The kinetics of exertional oxygen uptake: Assumptions and inferences. Medicina Dello Sport,
  133. (1999). The pairwise multiple comparison multiplicity problem: An alternative approach to familywise and comparisonwise type I error control. doi
  134. (2006). The psychological and physiological responses of sedentary individuals to prescribed and preferred intensity exercise. doi
  135. (2007). The relationship between exercise intensity and affective responses demystified: To crack the forty-year-old nut, replace the forty-year-old nutcracker! Manuscript submitted for publication. doi
  136. (1959). The role of affective processes in learning and motivation. doi
  137. (1996). The slow component of oxygen uptake kinetics in humans. Exercise and Sport Sciences Reviews, doi
  138. (1999). The structure of current affect. doi
  139. (1994). The Subjective Exercise Experiences Scale (SEES): development and preliminary validation.
  140. (2007). There is life after breast cancer": Nine vignettes exploring dragon boat racing for breast cancer survivors. Leisure Sciences, doi
  141. (2000). Throwing the mountains into the lakes: On the perils of nomothetic conceptions of the exercise-affect relationship.
  142. (2003). To see or not to see: The effects of exercising in mirrored environments on sedentary women's feeling states and self-efficacy. doi
  143. (1985). Toward a consensual structure of mood. doi
  144. (2005). Variation and homogeneity in affective responses to physical activity of varying intensities: An alternative perspective on dose-response based on evolutionary considerations. doi
  145. (1999). Well-being: Foundations of hedonic psychology. doi
  146. (2005). What intensity of physical activity do previously sedentary middle-aged women select? Evidence of a coherent pattern from physiological, perceptual, and affective markers. doi
  147. (1993). When more pain is preferred to less: Adding a better end. doi
  148. (2000). Writing: A method of enquiry. In

To submit an update or takedown request for this paper, please submit an Update/Correction/Removal Request.