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Improving Adolescent Health: A Comparison of 2 After-school Programs

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Objective: After-school programs (ASPs) are an ideal setting to decrease health-risks by increasing physical activity and psychosocial factors; however, these programs rarely include adolescents and often differ from one another. The purpose of this study was to examine the formats of 2 different after-school running programs, and the psychosocial outcomes associated with participation. Methods: Participants were (1) adolescents enrolled in middle school who self-selected into, Program A (N = 101) or Program B (N = 97) and (2) coaches. We conducted a 2-phase study. Phase 1 focused on the qualitative analysis through inductive coding, and Phase 2 examined physical activity enjoyment, school connectedness, grit, and self-efficacy among the program participants. Results: Phase 1 revealed 3 themes as essential components of the 2 programs: program design, accessibility, and supporting students and coaches. Phase 2 found students in Program B reported higher levels of physical activity enjoyment (t = -2.98, p < .05) and school connectedness (t = -8.99, p < .001) than students in Program A. Conclusions: Both after-school running programs supported the mission to get students active, but each running program took varying approaches to achieve this goal. Psychosocial factors of physical activity enjoyment and school connectedness varied, but overall psychosocial factors were high.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: March 1, 2020

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  • Health Behavior and Policy Review is a rigorously peer-reviewed scholarly bi-monthly publication that seeks manuscripts on health behavior or policy topics that represent original research, including papers that examine the development, advocacy, implementation, or evaluation of policies around specific health issues. The Review especially welcomes papers that tie together health behavior and policy recommendations. Articles are available through subscription or can be ordered individually from the Health Behavior and Policy Review site.
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