The impact of a dance aerobics program on middle school girls' physical activity level, self-efficacy, and decisional balance
Rates of childhood obesity have increased dramatically in recent years. Decrease in physical activity is among the leading causes, with adolescent females at greatest risk for obesity. School-based interventions have shown promise; however, few studies have considered the type of activity on physical activity level. According to the Transtheoretical Model (TTM), intrinsic readiness, self-efficacy, and perceived risks and benefits regarding change contribute to behavior change. Yet no known studies have considered the impact of intervention with a traditionally preferred activity on self-efficacy and decisional balance. Therefore, this study aimed to explore the impact of a 2-week dance aerobics program on adolescent females' physical activity level, self-efficacy, and decisional balance. Participants included 69 female adolescents enrolled in physical education class at a public middle school, and their parent/guardian. The study consisted of four (baseline, intervention, follow-up one and follow-up two) two-week phases. Physical activity was obtained by daily pedometer readings, and self-efficacy and decisional balance questionnaires were completed on the last day of each phase. The standard physical education curriculum was in place throughout all phases of the study for both groups, with the exception of the intervention phase for the intervention group, which completed a dance aerobics module. A series of multilevel models were used to determine impact of the intervention on participants' physical activity level, self-efficacy, and decisional balance. Models for physical activity, self-efficacy, and decisional balance pros did not reveal significant differences although trends based off of the regression equation supported change in physical activity. The final model for decisional balance cons indicated a significant difference between group trajectories, but it was not in the predicted direction. The study provides evidence that a preferred physical activity (dance aerobics) program can be implemented within the standard physical education curriculum for middle school girls. Despite low power, trends suggest that the intervention can increase physical activity in adolescent females. Furthermore, findings add to the literature on physical activity intervention and adolescent females' self-efficacy and decisional balance. Future studies should build upon the study design and address limitations in a larger, more representative sample.