Applied Research in Quality of Life

, Volume 6, Issue 3, pp 277–289 | Cite as

Physical Activity, Life Satisfaction, and Self-Rated Health of Middle School Students



Little research has examined the association between life satisfaction, self-rated health (SRH), and physical activity concurrently for middle school students. A convenience sample of 245 students in grades 7 and 8 was surveyed about physical activity, life satisfaction, and SRH using the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) 2005 Middle School Youth Risk Behavior Survey. ANOVA analyses revealed significantly reduced life satisfaction for females who reported not engaging in vigorous physical activity during the past 7 days [p < .01, effect size (ES) = .75]. Significantly reduced life satisfaction was detected for both males (p < .001, ES = .66) and females (p < .0001, ES = .80) who reported not playing on sports teams. Additionally, logistic regression analyses showed the odds of reporting fair/poor SRH increased 5.4 times for males (CI = 1.30–22.39, p < .05) and 30.9 times for females (CI = 3.74–255.43, p < .001) who reported not playing on sports teams. Preliminary findings suggest physical activity and sports participation is associated with improved life satisfaction and SRH for middle school students. In addition, although some gender differences were observed, consistent findings for sports participation suggest sports participation may carry multiple social, mental, and physical benefits for youth.


Life satisfaction Self-rated health Physical activity Sports participation Youth Adolescents 


  1. Anderson, R. E., Crespo, C. J., Bartlett, S. J., Cheskin, L. J., & Pratt, M. (1998). Relationship of physical activity and television watching with body weight and level of fatness among children: results from the Third National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. Journal of American Medical Association, 279(12), 938–942.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Agazi, H., Armstrong, K., & Bradley-Klug, K. L. (2010). BMI and physical activity among at risk sixth- and ninth-grade students, Hillsborough County, Florida, 2005–2006. Preventing Chronic Disease, 7, 2–9.Google Scholar
  3. Aires, L., Silva, P., Silva, G., Santos, M. P., Ribeiro, J. C., & Mota, J. (2010). Intensity of physical activity cardiorespiratory fitness, and body mass index in youth. Journal of Physical Activity and Health, 7, 54–59.Google Scholar
  4. Babiss, L. A., & Gangwisch, J. E. (2009). Sports participation as a protective factor against depression and suicidal ideation in adolescents as mediated by self-esteem and social support. Journal of Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics, 30, 376–384.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Booth, F. W., Gordon, S. E., Carlson, C. J., & Hamilton, M. T. (2000). Waging war on modern chronic diseases: primary prevention through exercise biology. Journal of Applied Physiology, 88, 774–787.Google Scholar
  6. Boreham, C., Twisk, J., Neville, C., Savage, M., Murry, L., & Gallegar, A. (2002). Associations between physical fitness and activity patterns during adolescence and cardiovascular risk factors in young adulthood: the Northern Ireland young hearts project. International Journal of Sports Medicine, 23, S22–S26.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Brener, N. D., Collins, J. L., Kann, L., Warrern, C. W., & Williams, B. I. (1995). Reliability of the youth risk behavior survey questionnaire. American Journal of Epidemiology, 141(6), 575–580.Google Scholar
  8. Brener, N. D., Kann, L., McManus, T., Kinchen, S. A., Sundberg, E. C., & Ross, J. G. (2002). Reliability of the 1999 youth risk behavior survey questionnaire. Journal of Adolescent Health, 31(4), 336–342.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Caspersen, C. J., Pereira, M. A., & Curran, K. M. (2000). Changes in physical activity patterns in the United States, by sex and cross-sectional age. Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, 32, 1601–1609.Google Scholar
  10. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). (2005). National Youth Risk Behavior Data Users Manual. Accessed 1 July 2010.
  11. Cohen, J. (1988). Statistical power analysis for the behavioral sciences. Hillsdale: Lawrence Earlbaum Associates.Google Scholar
  12. Diener, E., Suh, E., Oishi, S., Lucas, R. E., & Smith, H. L. (1999). Subjective well-being: three decades of progress. Psychological Bulletin, 125, 276–302.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Eaton, D. K., Kann, L., Kinchen, S., Ross, J., Hawkins, J., Harris, W. A., et al. (2006). Youth risk behavior surveillance—United States, 2005. Journal of School Health, 76(7), 353–372.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Eisenmann, J. C., Bartee, R. T., & Wang, M. Q. (2002). Physical activity, TV viewing, and weight in U.S. youth: 1999 Youth Risk Behavior Survey. Obesity Research, 10(5), 379–385.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Esch, L., & Zullig, K. J. (2008). Middle school students’ weight perceptions, dieting behaviors, and life satisfaction. American Journal of Health Education, 39(6), 345–352.Google Scholar
  16. Fan, X., Miller, B. C., Park, K., Winward, B. W., Christensen, M., Grotevant, H. D., et al. (2006). An exploratory study about inaccuracy and invalidity in adolescent self-report surveys. Field Methods, 18(3), 223–244.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Farpour-Lambert, N. J., Aggoun, Y., Marchand, L. M., Martin, X. E., Herrmann, F. R., & Beghetti, M. (2009). Physical activity reduces systemic blood pressure and improves early markers of atherosclerosis in pre-pubertal obese children. Journal of the American College of Cardiology, 54(25), 2396–2406.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Field, T., Diego, M., & Saunders, C. E. (2001). Exercise is positively related to adolescents’ relationships and academics. Adolescence, 36(141), 105–110.Google Scholar
  19. Hancox, R. J., Milne, B. J., & Poulton, R. (2004). Association between child and adolescent television viewing and adult health: a longitudinal birth cohort study. Lancet, 364, 257–262.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Helmrich, S. P., Ragland, D. R., Leung, R. W., & Paffenbarger, R. S. (1991). Physical activity and reduced occurrence of non-insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus. New England Journal of Medicine, 325, 147–152.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Huebner, E. S. (1997). Life satisfaction and happiness. In G. Bear, K. Minke, & A. Thomas (Eds.), Children’s needs II (pp. 271–278). Silver Spring: National Association of School Psychologists.Google Scholar
  22. Huebner, E. S., & Dew, T. (1996). The interrelationships among life satisfaction, positive affect, and negative affect in an adolescent sample. Social Indicators Research, 38, 129–137.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Huebner, E. S., Valois, R. F., Paxton, R. J., & Drane, J. W. (2005). Middle school students’ perceptions of quality of life. Journal of Happiness Studies, 6, 15–24.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Hu, F. B., Leitzmann, M. F., Stampfer, M. J., Colditz, G. A., Willett, W. C., & Rimm, E. B. (2001). Physical activity and television watching in relation to risk for type 2 diabetes mellitus in men. Archives of Internal Medicine, 161, 1542–1548.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Irwin, C. E., Burg, S. J., & Cart, C. U. (2002). America’s adolescents: Where have we been, where are we going? Journal of Adolescent Health, 31, 91–121.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Jago, R., & Baranowski, T. (2004). Non-curricular approaches for increasing physical activity in youth: a review. Preventive Medicine, 39, 157–163.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Kemper, H. C., Twisk, J. W., van Mechelen, W., Post, G. B., Roos, J. C., & Lips, P. (2000). A fifteen year longitudinal study in young adults on the relation of physical activity and fitness with the development of bone mass: the Amsterdam Growth and Health Longitudinal Study. Bone, 27, 847–852.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Kirkcaldy, B. D., Shephard, R. J., & Siefen, R. G. (2002). The relationship between physical activity and self-image and problem behaviour among adolescents. Social Psychiatry and Psychiatric Epidemiology, 37, 544–550.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Klesges, L. M., Baranowski, T., Beech, B., Cullen, K., Murray, D. M., Rochon, J., et al. (2004). Social desirability bias in self-reported dietary, physical activity and weight concerns measures in 8- to 10-year-old African–American girls: results from the girls health enrichment multisite studies (GEMS). Preventive Medicine, 38(l), 78–87.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Kwan, Y. K. (2010). Life satisfaction and self-assessed health among adolescents in Hong Kong. Journal of Happiness Studies, 11, 383–393.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Marshall, S. J., Biddle, S. J. H., Cameron, T. G., & Murdey, I. (2004). Relationships between media use, body fatness and physical activity in children and youth: a meta-analysis. International Journal of Obesity, 28, 1238–1246.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. McKenzie, T. L., & Kahan, D. (2004). Impact of the Surgeon General’s report: through the eyes of physical education teacher educators. Journal of Teaching in Physical Education, 23, 300–317.Google Scholar
  33. McHale, J. P., Vinden, P. G., Bush, L., Richer, D., Shaw, D., & Smith, B. (2005). Patterns of personal and social adjustment among sport-involved and non-involved urban middle school children. Sociology of Sport Journal, 22, 119–136.Google Scholar
  34. Palmer, R. F. (2002). Construct validity in health behavior research: interpreting latent variable models involving self-report and objective measures. Journal of Behavioral Medicine, 25(6), 525–550.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Piko, B. (2000). Health-related predictors of self-perceived health in a student population: the importance of physical activity. Journal of Community Health, 25, 125–137.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Piko, B. F., & Keresztes, N. (2006). Physical activity, psychosocial health, and life goals among youth. Journal of Community Health, 32(2), 136–145.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Popham, W. J. (1993). A strategy to encourage the evaluation of health education programs. Evaluation & Health Professions, 16(4), 379–384.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Poulsen, A. A., Ziviani, J. M., & Cuskelly, M. (2006). General self-concept and life satisfaction for boys with differing levels of physical coordination: the role of goal orientations and leisure participation. Human Movement Science, 25, 839–860.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Poulsen, A. A., Ziviani, J. M., & Cuskelly, M. (2007). Perceived freedom in leisure and physical co-ordination ability: impact on out-of-school activity participation and life satisfaction. Child: Care, Health, and Development, 33(4), 432–440.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Rasciute, S., & Downward, P. (2010). Health or happiness? What is the impact of physical activity on the individual? KYKLOS, 63(2), 256–270.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Robbins, L. B., Sikorskii, A., Hamel, L. M., Wu, T. Y., & Wilbur, J. (2009). Gender comparisons of perceived benefits of and barriers to physical activity in middle school youth. Research in Health Nursing, 32, 163–176.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Sallis, J. F., Conway, T. L., Prochaska, J. J., McKenzie, T. L., Marshall, S. J., & Brown, M. (2001). The association of school environments with youth physical activity. American Journal of Public Health, 91(4), 618–620.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Sanders, C. E., Field, T. M., Diego, M., & Kaplan, M. (2000). Moderate involvement in sports is related to lower depression levels among adolescents. Adolescence, 35, 793–797.Google Scholar
  44. Seligman, M., & Csikszentmihalyi, M. (2000). Positive psychology: an introduction. American Psychologist, 55, 5–14.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Seligson, J., Huebner, E. S., & Valois, R. F. (2003). Preliminary validation of the brief multidimensional student’s life satisfaction scale. Social Indicators Research, 61, 121–145.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Seligson, J., Huebner, E., & Valois, R. (2005). An investigation of a brief multidimensional students’ life satisfaction scale with elementary school students. Social Indicators Research, 73(3), 355–374.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Sibley, B. A., & Etnier, J. L. (2003). The relationship between physical activity and cognition in children—A meta-analysis. Pediatric Exercise Science, 15(3), 243–256.Google Scholar
  48. Sibley, B. A., Ward, R. M., Yazvac, T., Zullig, K. J., & Potteiger, J. A. (2008). Making the grade with diet and exercise. American Association of School Administrators Journal of Scholarship and Practice, 5(2), 38–46.Google Scholar
  49. Simon, C., Schweitzer, B., Oujaa, M., Wagner, A., Arveiler, D., Triby, E., et al. (2008). Successful overweight prevention in adolescents by increasing physical activity: a 4-year randomized controlled intervention. International Journal of Obesity, 32, 1489–1498.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. Stellino, M. B., Sinclair, C. D., Partridge, J. A., & King, K. M. (2010). Differences in children’s recess physical activity: recess activity of the week intervention. Journal of School Health, 80(9), 436–444.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. Strauss, R. S., Rodzilsky, D., Burack, G., & Collin, M. (2001). Psychosocial correlates of physical activity in healthy children. Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine, 155(8), 897–902.Google Scholar
  52. Thorlindsson, T., Vilhjalmsson, R., & Valgeirsson, G. (1990). Sport participation and perceived health status. A study of adolescents. Social Science and Medicine, 31, 551–556.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  53. Trost, S. G., Pate, R. R., Sallis, J. F., Freedson, P. S., Taylor, W. C., Dowda, M., et al. (2002). Age and gender differences in objectively measured physical activity in youth. Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, 34(2), 350–355.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  54. Ubbes, V. A., & Zullig, K. J. (2008). Impact of a comprehensive health education curriculum (CHEC) on selected risk behaviors of students in grades 5–12. Future Focus, 29(2), 25–31.Google Scholar
  55. Valois, R. F., Zullig, K. J., Huebner, E. S., & Drane, J. W. (2004). Life satisfaction and physical activity behaviors among high school adolescents. Journal of School Health, 74(2), 59–65.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  56. Vingilis, E., Wade, T. J., & Adlaf, E. (1998). What factors predict student self-rated physical health? Journal of Adolescence, 21(1), 83–97.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  57. Vingilis, E., Wade, T. J., & Seeley, J. S. (2002). Predictors of adolescent self-rated health. Analysis of the National Population Health Survey. Canadian Journal of Public Health, 93(3), 193–197.Google Scholar
  58. Wade, T. J., Pevalin, D. J., & Vingilis, E. (2000). Revisiting student self-rated physical health. Journal of Adolescence, 23(6), 785–791.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  59. Zullig, K. J., Valois, R. F., Huebner, E. S., & Drane, J. W. (2004). Evaluating the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention core health-related quality of life scale with adolescents. Public Health Reports, 119(6), 577–584.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  60. Zullig, K. J., Valois, R. F., Huebner, E. S., & Drane, J. W. (2005). Adolescent health-related quality of life and perceived satisfaction with life. Quality of Life Research, 14(6), 1573–1584.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  61. Zullig, K. J., Pun, S., Patton, J. M., & Ubbes, V. A. (2006). Reliability of the 2005 middle school Youth Risk Behavior Survey. Journal of Adolescent Health, 39(6), 856–860.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V./The International Society for Quality-of-Life Studies (ISQOLS) 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Community Medicine, School of MedicineWest Virginia UniversityMorgantownUSA
  2. 2.Philadelphia College of Osteopathic MedicinePhiladelphiaUSA

Personalised recommendations