Negative attitudes toward physical activity: Measurement and role in predicting physical activity levels among preadolescents

Timothy D. Nelson, Eric R. Benson, Chad D. Jensen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

25 Scopus citations


Objectives To describe the development and validation of a measure of negative attitudes toward physical activity and examine the association between these attitudes and self-reported physical activity among preadolescents. Method A school-based sample of 382 fifth and sixth graders (mean age = 10.8) completed measures of attitudes toward physical activity and self-reported physical activity. Body mass index data for the participants was collected as a part of a standard school health assessment. Exploratory factor analysis, confirmatory factor analysis, and structural equation modeling were utilized to test the factor structure and predictive value of attitudes toward physical activity. Results Results supported the reliability and concurrent validity of the negative attitudes measure and found a significant association between negative attitudes and physical activity. Negative attitudes was found to be a stronger predictor of physical activity than positive attitudes, which have been the focus of previous research in this area. Conclusions The results suggest that negative attitudes toward physical activity can be reliably measured and may be an important target for intervention efforts to increase physical activity among children and adolescents.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)89-98
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of pediatric psychology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 4 2010



  • Negative attitudes
  • Pediatric obesity
  • Physical activity
  • Positive attitudes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology

Cite this