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Childhood Negative Experience Taints Exercise Motivation

Childhood Negative Experience Taints Exercise MotivationApparently present-day humans are fragile when it comes to fitness motivation, or so says a University of Alberta researcher who believes humiliation in a physical education class as a child can turn people off fitness for good.

Billy Strean, a professor in the U of A’s Faculty of Physical Education and Recreation, says a negative lifelong attitude towards physical activity can be determined by either a good or a bad experience, based on the personal characteristics of the coach or instructor.

For example, negative experiences may come from a teacher who has low energy, is unfair or someone who embarrasses students.

During his research, Strean heard from individuals who opened up about negative experiences with coaches and instructors, some from many years ago.

One study participant wrote, “I am a 51-year-old-woman whose childhood experiences with sports, particularly as handled in school, were so negative that even as I write this my hands are sweating and I feel on the verge of tears. I have never experienced the humiliation nor felt the antipathy toward any other aspect of life as I do toward sports.”

Strean hopes to raise awareness of such experiences so those who instruct children in sport will realize they have the ability to create either a fun and playful experience or an experience of humiliation.

Strean has tips for coaches and teachers, including putting attention on fun, connecting with friends and learning, and, until kids enter their teens, minimizing attention on outcomes.

Strean also found study participants had better experiences from minimally organized games such as street hockey, compared to the more organized activities. He suggests adults try not to over-organize sports and allow the children to explore sporting activities on their own, with minimal rules and no scorekeeping.

Source: University of Alberta

Childhood Negative Experience Taints Exercise Motivation

Rick Nauert PhD

Rick Nauert, PhDDr. Rick Nauert has over 25 years experience in clinical, administrative and academic healthcare. He is currently an associate professor for Rocky Mountain University of Health Professionals doctoral program in health promotion and wellness. Dr. Nauert began his career as a clinical physical therapist and served as a regional manager for a publicly traded multidisciplinary rehabilitation agency for 12 years. He has masters degrees in health-fitness management and healthcare administration and a doctoral degree from The University of Texas at Austin focused on health care informatics, health administration, health education and health policy. His research efforts included the area of telehealth with a specialty in disease management.

APA Reference
Nauert PhD, R. (2015). Childhood Negative Experience Taints Exercise Motivation. Psych Central. Retrieved on September 24, 2018, from https://psychcentral.com/news/2010/01/08/childhood-negative-experience-taints-exercise-motivation/10641.html

 

Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 6 Oct 2015
Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 6 Oct 2015
Published on PsychCentral.com. All rights reserved.