The use of an internal locus of control scale as a predictor of exercise adherence in children ages 6-12
The U.S. Surgeon General has recommended that all Americans engage in regular physical activity throughout the lifespan as a way to maintain and improve health and reduce the risk of developing cardiovascular disease, diabetes, obesity, or other chronic conditions. The recommendation for children is a minimum of 60 minutes of moderate and intense physical activity everyday. As children enter adolescence their level of physical activity often decreases; and active adults were typically active adolescents. More than 50% of adults that begin a physical activity program discontinue the behavior within 9 months. Interventions to increase physical activity have looked at self-esteem and self-efficacy. Locus of control (LOC) is a concept that people either view their own behavior as influencing the events around them (internal) or other events controlling their fate or destiny (external). This study looked at locus of control as a predictor of exercise adherence and future exercise patterns in children ages 6-12 in Mesa, AZ. Locus of control as measured by the Child Nowicki-Strickland Internal External (CNSIE) scale differed by gender and by physical activity group at school at post-intervention. Self-reported physical activity as measured by the Physical Activity Questionnaire for Older Children (PAQ-C) showed differences in physical activity (PA) levels by gender for baseline school PA, by age group for baseline non-school PA, by gender and age group for post-intervention school PA, and by gender only for post-intervention non-school PA. A secondary objective was to assess if the Think Healthy About Nutrition and eXercise (THANX) after school program influenced participants' LOC or PA patterns. This study found that the THANX program had no effect on LOC or PA level at any time point.