The REPAC project

The relevance of physical activity contexts in the every-day life of adolescents - REPAC

1 Background
2 Overall aim of REPAC  
3 Theoretical framework   
4 Specific aims for three integrated sub-studies  
5 Design and sample sizes  
6 Longitudinal analyses  
7 Relevance  
8 Ethical perspectives  
9 Measurement Model
10 Project management and members of project group   
11 Publications

1 Background

The Relevance of Physical Activity Contexts in the every-day life of adolescents study (REPAC) prolongs the ideas behind the cross-sectional study, Goodness of Fit in Norwegian Youth Sport that was finalized in 2013.

The Goodnes of fit-study was based on data from a random sample of 2055 Norwegian adolescents (mean age 15.3 years) and showed that

  • school and local sport clubs are considered as major developmental assets which are supposed to foster adolescents’ developmental process. However, in line with studies from Benson et al., (1999) our results showed that these developmental assets remains fragile and that the national scaffolding of developmental processes does not necessarily function as society would like to believe (Säfvenbom, Geldof & Haugen, 2014; Säfvenbom, Haugen & Bulie).
  • prior research on associations between participation in sports and physical education, and developmental indices to often suffers from straightforward analyses performed in isolated contexts (Haugen 2013; Haugen, Säfvenbom, & Ommundsen, 2013).
  • the ambivalence of results in prior research with regard to adolescents’ alignment with and experiences from physical education, organized youth sports and self-organized movement activities requires further research (Biddle et al., 2011; Bulie, Säfvenbom & Haugen [under review]; Dworkin & Larsson, 2006; Hardman, 2008; Jarvie, 2011; Larsson & Redelius, 2004; Säfvenbom, Geldhof & Bulie, 2014; Säfvenbom, Haugen & Bulie, 2014; Whitelaw et al., 2010)
  • valid research on the association between involvement in movement activities and youth development requires that we over a period of time “keep one eye on the continuing interaction between the individual and his or her world-wide environment, and the other on the equally continuing interaction between the mental, biological and behavioural factors within the individual” (Magnusson & Stattin, 1998: 694).
  • As a consequence of the experiences from The Goodness of Fit in Norwegian Youth Sport –study REPAC was developed as a multi-contextual, longitudinal and multi methodological study framed by recent perspectives from developmental science.

Bulie, M., Säfvenbom, R. & Haugen, T. (Under review). Motivation for Physical Activity among Norwegian Youth. Does Context Matter? 
Haugen, T (2013). «Physical activity and mental health in adolescents: Exploring the role of self-perceptions, personal characteristics, and contextual specificities» Doctoral dissertation. Norwegian School of Sport Sciences
Haugen, T., Säfvenbom, R. & Ommundsen, Y. (2013). Sport Participation and Loneliness in Adolescents: The Mediating Role of Perceived Social Competence. Current Psychology, 32(2) 203-216
Haugen, T., Säfvenbom, R. & Ommundsen, Y. (2011). Physical activity and global self-worth: The role of physical self-esteem indices and gender. Mental Health and Physical Activity, 4(2), 49-56
Haugen, T., Johansen, B. T., & Ommundsen, Y. (2014). The role of gender in the relationship between physical activity, appearance evaluation and psychological distress. Child and Adolescent Mental Health, 14(1) 24-30.
Haugen, T. (2015). One size does not fit all. Physical Activity and Mental Health in Adolescents. Portal Academic. Kristiansand, Norway.
Säfvenbom, R., Haugen, T. & Bulie, M. (2014). Attitudes toward and motivation for PE. Who collects the benefits of the subject? Physical Education and Sport Pedagogy, DOI: 10.1080/17408989.2014.892063
Säfvenbom, R., Geldof, J. & Haugen, T. (2014). Sports clubs as accessible developmental assets for all? Adolescents’ assessment of egalitarianism vs. elitism in school and sports. International Journal of Sport Policy and Politics, 6(3) 443 – 457.

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2 Overall aim of REPAC

Adolescents are typically involved in three different activity contexts outside the family. They are all involved in Physical Education in school and they may be involved in organized youth sport and self-organized physical activity outside school. The overall aim of REPAC is therefore to generate new knowledge on how these three major physical activity contexts in the every-day life of adolescents affect behaviour and development during adolescence (13 – 19 years). Questions regarding social equity and possibility for change in the public health policy targeting adolescents will be at the forefront of the researchers work throughout the project.

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3 Theoretical framework

REPAC is framed in recent developmental science perspectives. Developmental science today “addresses the full spectrum of human thinking, feeling, and behaviour and how they vary from one culture to another – and it is concerned with children’s future as well as the future of the society” (Lamb & Bornstein, 2011:1).
Developmental science seeks “to describe, explain and optimize intraindividual (within-person) change and interindividual (between-person) differences in intraindividual change across the life span” (Lerner, Agans,  DeSouza & Hershberg, 2014). In doing so, emphasis has been placed on integrating biological, psychological, social, and behavioural factors, at several, yet integrated and reciprocal, levels. Thus, according to Magnusson and Stattin (1998), an adolescent’s behaviour and development must be analyzed in relation to the dynamic individual-environment process in which he or she is embedded. Without knowledge of this total process, it is not possible to understand how various individuals function and develop.

In REPAC the developmental process is viewed as a complex and life-long process, where social reflection, processing of contradictory information, negotiation, and compromise are paramount (Lerner & Damon, 2006, Lerner et al., 2011). Adolescents are working on the construction of the self on a daily basis, and modern perspectives on the developmental process explain how and why young people of today think and act differently from adolescents of only a couple decades ago. Because these recent perspectives are first of all based on changes in society, it is reasonable to consider these perspectives as the foundation for any new advance with regard to how young people interact, experience, act, and develop within movement contexts inside and outside school.
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4 Specific aims for three integrated sub-studies

REPAC contains three integrated sub-studies: (1) A longitudinal study; (2) an intervention study, and (3) a qualitative study.
The primary aim of the longitudinal study is to assess adolescents’ activity involvement, and their content descriptions and experiences from three interdependent movement contexts in adolescents’ every-day life. Based on the collected data the study will measure specific and relative effects of the three contexts on adolescents’ behaviour and on variables reflecting developmental processes.

The primary aim of the intervention study is to document whether an interest based and self-determined PE can change students’ experiences of PE, their motivation and eagerness for PE, and eventually their developmental process when extracurricular activity is controlled for. Students participating in the intervention study get the opportunity to choose between a conventional sport-oriented PE and an explorative movement-oriented PE. The students were invited into the program in their second year – after the first data wave. The effect of the intervention will be measured using the longitudinal data while qualitative methods will be used to get a deeper understanding of students’ experiences of the intervention.

The primary aim of the qualitative study is to perform analyses of lived experiences of PE.
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5 Design and sample sizes

The point of departure of REPAC is that human beings, and thus adolescents 

  • learn and develop through interaction with different interrelated contexts
  • learn and develop over time.

As a consequence, REPAC was developed as a multi-contextual, longitudinal and multi methodological study of two different cohorts of adolescents born in 2000 (one that started secondary school in 2013) and 1997 (one that started upper secondary school in 2013).

The sample of students (N=3049) for the longitudinal study were drawn from a sample of secondary schools (N=23/1592) and upper secondary schools (N=19/1457) representing four different counties in Norway. The schools were stratified according to region, study program, number of students, and centrality. This sample will be surveyed from the first year at school (secondary or upper secondary school) until they finish school three years later.

From the total sample of adolescents a subsample (N= 576) was drawn for the purpose of the intervention study (for effect analyses within the longitudinal design). In addition one subsample (N=20) will be drawn from the two cohorts for qualitative retrospective and prospective analyses of students’ experiences of PE; and finally one subsample (N=20) will be drawn from the intervention sample for qualitative analyses of students’ experience of participation in the intervention. (The number of students in the subsamples for qualitative analyses should be seen as approximate).

The longitudinal study will contain three waves of data collection. The first data collection was conducted spring 2014 (when the students had almost finished their first secondary- or upper secondary school year), for then to be repeated spring 2015 and 2016. The intervention program will be conducted during the students 2nd year (after wave 1). The qualitative interviews with the sub-sample of the intervention group will be conducted right after the first year of intervention.
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6 Longitudinal analyses

The quantitative analyses in the proposed study will involve regular longitudinal variable-oriented analyses as well as person-oriented analyses. In physical activity and health related research most approaches to data analysis are variable-centered, yet are often interpreted as if they say something about individuals.

Person-oriented psychology (Bergman, von Eye, & Magnusson, 2006) posits, therefore, that instead of being universal, development of behaviour should also be seen as being specific to individuals or groups of individuals. The person-oriented methodological approach assumes that individuals are unique and that their uniqueness is knowable, and therefore groups of people can be clustered around this uniqueness. In the proposed study such clustering will be performed, in addition to other analyses such as structural equation modelling (SEM) procedures, trajectory analysis involving both variable-centered growth curve analyses (Hierarchical Linear Model, HLM) and pattern-centered mixture models (Latent Class Growth Analysis, LCGA), to address our questions.
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7 Relevance

The point of departure of the proposed project is that it will explore interdependent contexts and intermediary factors that may affect health behaviour and positive development during adolescence that have hitherto been overlooked. Due to the theoretical approach and the design of the study, the study will provide further data on the role of activity contexts in the lives of youth. In particular, the study will examine the relative contribution of three different movement contexts on adolescents’ behaviour and development. Finally, based on data from the study it will be possible to discuss the potential benefits of alternative pedagogical approaches to PE in school.

The longitudinal and multi contextual design and the relatively large sample including adolescents from four different counties of Norway will make it possible to address the relevance of public promotion of movement activity in the every-day life of adolescents, and how these contexts contribute to social equity. It is expected that the study will be of significant relevance for the development of public health policy targeting adolescents in the future.
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8 Ethical perspectives

Ethical aspects will be at the center of attention in the project, and Norwegian privacy legislation and ethical standards for conducting research is adhered to in the context of creation, storage, analyses of the material, as well as in reporting of results.
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9 Measurement Model


Measurement model

Measurement model

  1. Satisfaction of Life: Satisfaction With Life Scale (SWLS).Pavot, W., & Diener, E. (1993). Review of the satisfaction with life scale. Psychological Assessment, 5, 164-172
  2. Distress: Hopkins Symptom Checklist (HSCL) / Hopkins Symptom Checklist (HSCL-10): Derogatis LR, Lipman RS, Ricjekls K, Uhlenhuth EH, Covi L. The Hopkins Symptom Checlist (HSCL); A self-report symptom inventory. Behavioral  Science 19, 1-15, 1974; Strand B.H., Dalgard, O.S., Tambs, K. &  Rognerud, M. (2003)  Measuring the mental health status of the Norwegian population: A comparison of the instruments SCL-25, SCL-10, SCL-5 and MHI-5 (SF-36). Nordic Journal of Psychiatry. Vol 57, NO 2 (113–118)
  3. Resilience: The Connor-Davidson Resilience Scale (CD-RISC 2). Connor, K.M. & Davidson, J.R.T. (2003). Development of a new Resilience Scale: The Connor –Davidson Resilience Scale (CD-RISC). Depression & Anxiety. Vol. 18 (76–82)
  4. Drive for thinness: Eating Disorder Inventory -2 (EDI-2). Garner, D.M (1991). Eating disorder inventory-2: Professional manual. Odessa: Psychological Assessment Resources
  5. Personal Growth: Personal Growth Composite (PGC): Subscales: Curiosity, Absorption, Complexity and Competence. Amabile, T. M., Hill, K. G., Hennessey, B. A., & Tighe, E. M. (1994). The work preference inventory: Assessing intrinsic and extrinsic motivational orientation. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 66, 950–967; IPIP (2002). International Personality Item Pool. A scientific collaboration for the development of advanced measurement of personality traits and other individual differences. Available from ; Kashdan, T. B., Rose, P., & Fincham, F. D. (2004). Curiosity and exploration: Facilitating positive subjective experience and personal growth opportunities. Journal of Personality Assessment, 82, 291–305.
  6. Self-perception: Self-Perception Profile for Adolescents (SPPA) Subscales: Scholastic Competence, Athletic Competence, Physical Appearance; Global Self-Worth. Harter, S. (1988). Manual for the self-perception profile for adolescents. Denver:  University of Denver; Wichstrøm, L. (1995). Harter’s self-perception profile for adolescents: reliability, validity, and evaluation of the question format. Journal of Personality Assessment, 65, 100-116.
  7. Emotions. Vittersø, J., Dyrdal, G. M., & Røysamb, E. (2005). Utilities and capabilities: A psychological account of the two concepts and their relation to the idea of a good life Paper presented at The 2nd Workshop on Capabilities and Happiness, University of Milano – Bicocca, Italy, 15 – 18 June, 2005.
  8. Grit: Short Grit Scale. Duckworth, A. L., & Quinn, P. D. (2009). Development and validation of the short grit scale (grit-s). J Pers Assess, 91(2), 166-174. doi: 10.1080/00223890802634290
  9. Physical Identity. Lorentzen, C. (2007). Psychological mediators of stages of change in physical activity. Doctoral dissertation. Norwegian School of Sport Sciences Oslo, Norway; Jenum, A. K., Lorentzen, C., Anderssen, S. A., Birkeland, K. I., Holme, I., Lund-Larsen, P. G., . . . Bahr, R. (2003). Promoting physical activity in a multi-ethnic district-methods and baseline results of a pseudo-experimental intervention study. European Journal of Cardiovascular Prevention & Rehabilitation, 10(5), 387-396.
  10. Attitudes to Physical Activity. Lorentzen, C. (2007). Psychological mediators of stages of change in physical activity. Doctoral dissertation. Norwegian School of Sport Sciences Oslo, Norway; Jenum, A. K., Lorentzen, C., Anderssen, S. A., Birkeland, K. I., Holme, I., Lund-Larsen, P. G., . . . Bahr, R. (2003). Promoting physical activity in a multi-ethnic district-methods and baseline results of a pseudo-experimental intervention study. European Journal of Cardiovascular Prevention & Rehabilitation, 10(5), 387-396.
  11. Intention to involve in physical activity. Jackson, C., Smith, R. A., & Conner, M. (2003). Applying an extended version of the theory of planned behaviour to physical activity. Journal of Sports Sciences, 21, 119-133; Erdvik, I.B., Øverby, N.C. & Haugen, T. (2015) Translating, Reliability Testing, and Validating a Norwegian Questionnaire to Assess Adolescents’ Intentions to be Physically Active After High School Graduation. Sage Open, DOI: 10.1177/2158244015580374
  12. Level of Physical Activity. Sagatun A, Søgaard A J, Bjertness E, Selmer R and Heyerdahl S (2007). The association between weekly hours of physical activity and mental health: A three-year follow-up study of 15-16-year-old students in the city of Oslo,Norway. BMC Public Health 7: 155-163
  13. Eagerness: Eagerness for Physical Activity Scale (EPAS) Säfvenbom, R., Buch, R., & Aandstad, A. (Under review) Eagerness for Physical Activity Scale: Theoretical background and validation. Applied Developmental Science. Submitted July, 2015.
  14. Basic Psychological Needs Satisfaction: The Basic Psychological Needs in Exercise Scale (PPNES): Vlachopoulos, Symeon P., & Michailidou, Sotiria. (2006). Development and Initial Validation of a Measure of Autonomy, Competence, and Relatedness in Exercise: The Basic Psychological Needs in Exercise Scale. Measurement in Physical Education and Exercise Science, 10(3), 179-201
  15. Situational Motivation: Situational Motivation Scale (SIMS). Guay F., Vallerand R.J., & Blanchard C. (2000) On the assessment of situational intrinsic and extrinsic motivation: The situational motivation scale (SIMS).  Plenum, Motivation and Emotion, 23, 175-213.
  16. Belonging: The Sense of Belonging Scale (SBS). Anderson-Butcher, D. & Conroy, D.A. (2002). Factorial and Criterion Validity of Scores of a Measure of Belonging in Youth Development Programs. Educational and Psychological Measurement, 62, 857-876.
  17. Motivational Climate: The Perceived Motivational Climate in Sport Questionnaire ( PMCSQ). Roberts, G.C. and Ommundsen, Y. (1996). Effect of goal orientations on achievement beliefs, cognition and strategies in team sport. Scandinavian Journal of Medicine and Science in Sports, 6, 46-56.

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10 Project management and members of project group

REPAC was developed in collaboration with the Institute for Applied Research in Youth Development, Tufts University, MA, USA. The project has been governed by the Norwegian School of Sport Sciences and has been conducted in collaboration with the University of Agder, Hedmark University  College and Østfold University College. The daily management of the study has been performed by Professor Reidar Säfvenbom at the Department of Teacher Education and Outdoor Studies, Norwegian School of Sport Sciences. From January 2021 he is leading a research group of four.

Professor Reidar Säfvenbom, Norwegian School of Sport Sciences

Associate Professor Marte Bentzen, Norwegian School of Sport Sciences

Associate Professor Tommy Haugen, University of Agder

Senior Lecturer Andreas Ivarsson, University of Halmstad

11 Publications

Erdvik, I. B., Haugen, T., Ivarsson, A., & Säfvenbom, R. (2020). The Temporal Relations of Adolescents’ Basic Need Satisfaction in Physical Education and Global Self-Worth. Journal of Sport and Exercise Psychology 42(6) 480 - 489

Säfvenbom, R. & Stjernvang, G. (2019). Lifestyle sport contexts as self-organized epistemic cultures. Sport, Education and Society, 25 (7) 829-841

Erdvik, I. B., Haugen, T., Ivarsson, A., & Säfvenbom, R. (2019). Development of basic psychological need satisfaction in physical education. Effects of a two-year programme.  Journal for Research in Arts and Sports Education, 3(2).

Løvoll, H.S., Bentzen, M. & Säfvenbom, R. (2019).  Development of positive emotions in physical education: A person-centered approach for understanding motivational stability and change. Scandinavian Journal of Educational Research.

Erdvik, I. B., Haugen, T., Ivarsson, A., & Säfvenbom, R. (2019). Global Self-Worth among Adolescents: The Role of Basic Psychological Need Satisfaction in Physical Education. Scandinavian Journal of Educational Research.  doi:10.1080/00313831.2019.1600578