Accessible Requires Authentication Published by De Gruyter November 5, 2015

Considerations for Conducting Imagery Interventions in Physical Education Settings

Nicole Westlund Stewart, Alison Divine, Jenny O and Barbi Law

Abstract

There is a need to develop effective physical activity interventions for children, given the growing concerns about physical inactivity and the related health issues (Colley et al., 2011). The Task Force on Community Preventive Services (2002) strongly recommends that school-based physical activity interventions could be an effective way to increase physical activity levels by modifying the social environment and the behaviours that take place within it. PE is not only an important source of physical activity (Sallis & McKenzie, 1991); it also provides important benefits regarding children’s psychosocial and motor skill outcomes, making them more likely to engage in physical activity into adolescence and adulthood (Sallis et al., 2012). We know that mental skills such as imagery have been shown to influence motivation, participation, and performance in motor learning, sport, and exercise (Hall, 2001). Therefore, the use of imagery in a PE context seems to be a natural extension of its traditional use in sport and exercise settings. The purpose of this review paper is to discuss factors to consider when designing and implementing an imagery intervention in a school-based PE setting. The recommendations will be discussed within three main categories: (a) the specific school context in which the intervention would be administered, (b) the design of contextually-appropriate and feasible methodology, and (c) individualizing imagery prompts to be sample- and situation-appropriate for the developmental level of the students as well as the PE context through which they would be delivered. Limitations as well as recommendations for future research or interventions conducted in PE settings will also be discussed.

Funding statement: Funding: Government of Canada, Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (Grant/Award Number: “410-2010-1365”)

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