The effect of an elementary school-based physical activity intervention on student engagement among fourth graders in Georgia Open Access

Celli, Justine May-Yi (2017)

Permanent URL: https://etd.library.emory.edu/concern/etds/7s75dd233?locale=en
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Abstract

Introduction: Physical activity (PA) is a well-known health priority to prevent obesity. Additionally, studies have shown exercise is associated with increased cognitive and affective student engagement. This relationship is important because student engagement is a predictor for academic achievement and school completion. However, there have not been any studies using an objective measure of PA or assessing cognitive, affective, and behavioral engagement at the same time. The purpose of this study was to examine the association between changes in PA due to a school-based intervention and student engagement.

Methods: Fourth grade students from three metro-Atlanta districts participated in this study and 2,578 were included in this analysis. Data were collected on PA levels using pedometers to count daily steps and student engagement using the Student Engagement Instrument-Elementary Version (SEI-E). Paired t-tests were used to assess changes in engagement from pre- to post-test. Linear regressions were used to assess the relationship between average number of steps taken per day and average engagement scores for both intervention and control schools combined, and to assess possible confounding and effect modification by gender, race, and socioeconomic status.

Results: Students at intervention schools showed significant changes from pre- to post- test for average overall engagement (4.4 to 4.3), average cognitive engagement (4.5 to 4.4), average future goals and aspirations subscale (4.7 to 4.6), and average family support for learning subscale (4.7 to 4.6). Students at control schools did not have any significant changes in any engagement measures from pre- to post-test. Intervention schools showed a significant increase in steps from pre- to post-intervention (3,214 to 3,710); whereas, control schools showed a significant decrease in average steps from pre- to post-test (3,277 to 3,044).

Discussion: This study showed that participation in the intervention resulted in significant decreases on several subscales of student engagement; however, steps during the day, regardless of participation in the intervention, did not have a significant effect on engagement. As the primary program objectives are increasing student PA and improving student health, it is relevant to note that this can successfully be accomplished within the school setting.

Table of Contents

Chapter I: Review of the Literature

Physical Activity in Schools......................................................................................................... 1

Student Engagement..................................................................................................................... 4

Association between Physical Activity and Student Engagement.................................................. 8

Gaps in the Literature................................................................................................................... 9

Chapter II: Manuscript

Introduction................................................................................................................................ 11

Methods..................................................................................................................................... 13

Study Design......................................................................................................................... 13

School Recruitment................................................................................................................ 13

Study Population.................................................................................................................... 14

Intervention Program.............................................................................................................. 14

Data Sources.......................................................................................................................... 16

Data Measures....................................................................................................................... 18

Data Management.................................................................................................................. 20

Analysis................................................................................................................................. 21

Results....................................................................................................................................... 22

Discussion................................................................................................................................. 24

Strengths and Limitations....................................................................................................... 25

Future Directions and Public Health Implications.................................................................. 26

References..................................................................................................................................... 28

Tables

Table 1....................................................................................................................................... 34

Table 2....................................................................................................................................... 35

Table 3....................................................................................................................................... 36

Table 4....................................................................................................................................... 37

Table 5....................................................................................................................................... 39

Table 6....................................................................................................................................... 40

Figures

Figure 1...................................................................................................................................... 41

Chapter III: Summary, Future Directions, and Public Health Implications....................... 42

Appendix

Appendix 1................................................................................................................................. 44

Appendix II................................................................................................................................ 46

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