Influence of attentional focus strategies on exercise enjoyment, mood alteration, and ratings of perceived exertion

Matthew Jones */**, Bonnie G. Berger *, Lynn A. Darby *, David R. Owen *** and David A. Tobar *

(*) School of Human Movement, Sport, and Leisure Studies, Bowling Green State University, USA
(**) Department of Applied Health, Southern Illinois University, USA
(***) Department of Psychology, Brooklyn College of the City University of New York, USA

Citation

Jones, M., G. Berger, B., A. Darby, L., R. Owen, D., A. Tobar, D. (2021). Influence of attentional focus strategies on exercise enjoyment, mood alteration, and ratings of perceived exertion. International Journal of Sport Psychology, 52(1), 28-50. doi:10.7352/IJSP.2021.52.028

Abstract

This study examined relationships among attentional strategies and recreational joggers’ exercise enjoyment, mood alteration, and perceived exertion. College male recreational joggers (N = 21) were randomly assigned to employ either an association strategy followed by dissociation, or to the reverse treatment order in separate, moderate intensity exercise sessions. Analyses of the Attentional Focusing Questionnaire responses indicated that participants successfully employed the assigned attentional focus strategy and reported fewer Distressful thoughts when using dissociation, rather than association. Joggers enjoyed the first exercise session more than the second, but there was no difference for enjoyment between the strategies. When using the dissociation strategy first, joggers reported decreased Tension, Depression, and Confusion. When using the association strategy first, joggers reported decreased Confusion. In conclusion, male recreational joggers reported fewer Distressful thoughts when using dissociation, enjoyed the first exercise session more than the second, had greater mood benefits when using the dissociation strategy first, and reported increased RPE as the distance jogged increased.

Keywords: Association, Cognitive strategies, Dissociation, Distressful thoughts, recreational exercisers


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