Mission accomplished? Physical activity, affect, and self-esteem


The homeless experience a variety of physical, psychological and social vulnerabilities; physical activity and sport may be one vehicle to help alleviate some of these challenges. Self-esteem can predict intention and moderate the level of control the individual perceives they have over a specific health behaviour such as physical activity. There is evidence that even a single bout of physical activity can positively change affective states. Patrons from a homeless shelter (N = 34) participated in one of four physical activity experiences. Four physical activity experiences were selected based on results from our previous research: bowling, yoga, war canoe and Atlatl, and ball hockey. Self-report exercise behaviour and intentions were assessed prior to activity participation. Self-esteem and physical activity affect were measured before and after each activity. There were no significant changes in self-esteem or affect following physical activity participation. No between group differences were evident for self-esteem or affect. Self-esteem was not a significant predictor of self-reported exercise behaviour. Exercise behaviour was a significant predictor of physical activity affect; F(1, 27) = 5.74, p = .02; with an R2 = .18. Participants who participated more regularly in physical activity had higher ratings of physical activity affect.

Acknowledgments: University of Winnipeg Major Research Grant