Physical Activity and Lifetime Wellness Laboratory (PALW)
Ongoing research projects investigate the psychosocial factors underlying health behaviors with an emphasis on translating research into practice to foster meaningful behavior change. Interdisciplinary projects are a central feature of this lab, including recent collaborations with faculty in the Department of Public Health Education, Department of Nutrition, School of Nursing, Institute to Promote Athlete Health and Wellness, Gerontology Program, and the UNCG Athletics Department.
LINES OF RESEARCH
Promoting lifetime physical activity and health through sport and life transitions: This research focuses on understanding the psychosocial factors (e.g, identity and motivation) that predict physical activity and health behaviors through key transitional periods. For example, the Moving On! program was developed with funding from the NCAA to help student-athletes make healthy transitions to life after college sports. Research on this program focuses on the continued development, implementation, and evaluation of theory-driven and evidence-based strategies that promote lifetime physical activity and healthy eating. Recently, we’ve started to extend our research in this area to promote healthy transitions for military veterans.
Motivational processes regulating physical activity and sedentary behavior: Incorporating various theoretical frameworks like self-determination theory and dual processes theory, this research seeks to understand the role of motivation (within and outside of conscious awareness) in predicting physical activity and health-related outcomes.
Measurement of sport and exercise psychology constructs: Research in sport and exercise psychology depends on the valid and reliable measurement of health behaviors as well as of the causes and correlates of these behaviors. This line of research focuses on how key psychological constructs are conceptualized and operationalized in the literature, and involves scale development, psychometric assessment, and adapting traditional questionnaires for intensive repeated measures.
Remote Sensing and Communication Technologies: Several projects within the lab use remote sensing and communication technologies such as smartphones, accelerometers, and GPS to deliver real-time electronic surveys (Ecological Momentary Assessment [EMA]), measure physical activity and sedentary behavior, and monitor geographic location to better understand causes and correlates of health behavior. This work will then lead to the development of Just-In-Time Adaptive Interventions (JITAIs) designed to deliver the appropriate intervention content at the right time by adapting to an individual’s changing internal and contextual state.