Differential Physical and Psychological Effects of Exercise

Denise Wilfley, Joseph Kunce

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

29 Scopus citations


The physical and psychological benefits of an 8-week individualized exercise program for 83 "normal" adults were evaluated. The 49 who completed the program differed from the 34 dropouts on preexercise data only on persistence (p < .05), the pretest time spent in exercise, which indicated a possible motivational difference. Those who completed the program showed statistically significant improvements in terms of persistence (p < .001), fitness (p < .001), and physical self-concept (p < .001) and reduced psychological tension (p < .05), as measured by the Profile of Mood States. Persistence correlated significantly with vigor (p < .01), and fitness correlated significantly with both vigor (p < .05) and physical self-concept (p < .05). Analysis of subjects categorized by initial levels of fitness and stress showed that changes in stress following exercise occurred only for those who were below the mean of the sample both physically and psychologically prior to beginning the exercise program. A number of special strategies to motivate those clients who may benefit most from therapeutic exercise programs as an adjunct to stress management are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)337-342
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Counseling Psychology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jul 1986


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