Date of Award

Fall 1-5-2018

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

Kinesiology and Health

First Advisor

Dr. Rebecca Ellis

Second Advisor

Dr. Jane Brack

Third Advisor

Dr. Ken Rice

Fourth Advisor

Dr. Walter Thompson

Abstract

Although self-compassion has a positive effect on the regulation of health-related behaviors (see Chapter 2; Biber & Ellis, 2017), further research is needed to examine the impact on physical activity (PA). Therefore, the purpose of this study was to test the effects of a theory of planned behavior (TPB) workplace intervention on self-compassion, physical activity (PA) motivation, and PA behavior among university employees. Participants (n = 20) were employees (80% female) from 11 Georgia State University departments that participated in the fourth annual Desire2Move (D2M) competition. Volunteers were assigned to either a self-compassion treatment group or an attention control group. Participants in both groups logged their PA using the MapMyRun website or smartphone application and received weekly tips and reminders. Treatment group participants also completed a seven-week self-compassion intervention beginning the second week of D2M. Self-reported self-compassion, TPB constructs, and PA behavior were collected pre- and post-intervention. Separate one-way ANOVAs with Bonferroni correction were used to determine group differences for weekly and total PA minutes (MapMyRun) between the treatment and attention control groups during D2M. Separate repeated measures mixed ANOVAs with Bonferroni correction were also used to analyze changes in self-compassion, TPB constructs, and PA from pre- to post-intervention between the groups. There were no significant differences between the treatment and attention control groups for changes in self-compassion, TPB constructs, or self-reported PA from pre- to post-intervention or for minutes of PA during D2M. This was the first study to test the impact of self-compassion training on the regulation of PA. Participants listened to more than 62% of the treatment, which is higher adherence than previous mindfulness interventions. However, the small sample size limited the statistical power and the generalizability of findings. Future researchers should recruit a larger, heterogenous sample, test the impact of a shorter self-compassion intervention, and tailor the self-compassion intervention to PA motivation and behavior. Understanding the self-regulatory impact of self-compassion could help researchers tailor physical activity interventions to include self-compassion components that could improve maintenance of PA.

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