Aerobic physical activity effects on psychological well-being in low-income hispanic children

Debra J. Crews, Marc R. Lochbaum, Daniel M. Landers

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

67 Scopus citations


Psychological well-being has been generally associated with vigorous aerobic activity and structured aerobic activity in adolescents and children. Low-income children are at greater risk than the general population for experiencing high environmental stress and increased mental health problems. This study investigated the effects of a structured physical fitness program on psychological well-being in low-income Hispanic children. A total of 66, 33 girls, 33 boys, in Grade 4 were randomly assigned to either an Aerobic intensity (n = 34) or a Control intensity physical activity program (n = 32) for 6 wk. Psychological well-being was defined as scores on trait anxiety, depression, and self-esteem, measured, respectively, by the Trait Anxiety Inventory, Beck Depression Inventory, and Rosenberg Self-esteem scale. Analysis showed the children in the Aerobic intensity program significantly (p<.05) improved their cardiovascular fitness as measured by the PWC170 test. After the program was over, the children in this Aerobic group reported significantly (p<.05) less depression. The main effect for self-esteem reflected the Aerobic group's greater self-reported self-esteem. No differences were found on trait anxiety. The effects on depression and self-esteem may only be attributed to the cardiovascular improvement given the higher intensity physical activity program because causation was not assessed here.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)319-324
Number of pages6
JournalPerceptual and Motor Skills
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 2004


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