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Date of Award

4-14-2000

Degree Type

Dissertation (On-Campus Access Only)

Degree Name

Doctor of Psychology (PsyD)

Committee Chair

Michel Hersen

Second Advisor

Jay Thomas

Third Advisor

James Lane

Abstract

The elderly are the fastest growing segment of the population in many countries. Their longevity has highlighted the importance of health as we age. Although physical health is the primary focus of most clinical interventions, psychological well-being is increasingly viewed as an integral component of overall health status because of its contribution to one's quality oflife. The concept of psychological well-being has been used commonly in both theoretical circles and in the clinical arena. Yet, a concise definition and, more specifically, its determinants are not clearly elucidated. Exercise has long been considered as highly effective in promoting physical health. The current study aimed at investigating the interplay of psychological well-being, exercise and aging. A
total of 297 individuals, consisting of 103 men and 194 women, were surveyed.
Correlation, partial correlation, t-test, and hierarchical regression analyses were used to analyze the data. The results supported the hypotheses that age and education were correlated with involvement in exercise while there was no difference between the genders. Further, individuals who exercised were more likely to report a higher level of physical health status and to enjoy a higher level of social support. FUlihennore, it was found that exercise was significantly associated with psychological well-being as indicated by a greater feeling of happiness, optimism, a greater health locus of control, higher level of physical health and greater feeling of life satisfaction. Finally, exercisers were found to be less depressed than those who did not exercise. The results of the current study are yet another indication that exercise can play a crucial role for all individuals but especially for the elderly. Longitudinal research to establish a causal link
between exercise and psychological well-being is recommended for future studies.

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