Dept. of Psychology, Lund University
The second edition of Exercise Psychology contains three parts, “Introduction and Basic Concepts”, “Exercise and Mental Health”, and “The Psychology of Physical Activity Behavior”, with in all 16 chapters. Three new chapters on the relation between exercise and cognition, fatigue, and pain have been added. The authors stress the importance of the biological foundations of exercise psychology in order to supplement the traditional cognitive, social, and environmental influences, thus broadening the perspectives of the subject area.
The content of the book chapters is organized in a logical way: Definition of the subject, historical background, conceptual framework, measurements, causes and correlates, epidemiological evidence, experimental evidence, mechanisms, and summary. In the end of each chapter, a list of relevant website references is provided.
Exercise Psychology gives a thorough presentation of the subject area, although sometimes very basic, contains numerous illustrative examples and references to different chapters, thought-provoking window highlights, and at the end a 14-page glossary. The book is quite heavy, but the hardcover binding facilitates an easy and convenient reading.
The pedagogical innovation is an image bank, which includes all of the figures, content photos, and tables from the text, sorted by chapter to be used to develop a customized presentation based on specific course requirements. A blank PowerPoint template is provided to teachers to insert images from the image bank to create their own presentations. This is an excellent idea.
It has been known for a long time that physical activity has positive effects on health related issues. However, what remains to be established are the mechanisms behind the effect, the type of exercise, the frequency, the intensity, and dosage. More research is needed, and an interdisciplinary approach, involving behavioral as well as medical researchers, would, in my opinion, be worthwhile. Exercise is not medically recognized as a treatment for depression according to the American Psychiatric Association, but might be when we know more about the underlying mechanisms.
The few editorial errors that I have noticed do not disturb a smooth reading – “Participation in daily school physical activity, and being physically activity in physical education classes did not change significantly” (p. 330) shall read “Participation in daily school physical activity, and being physically active….”; “Whereas behaviorism contends that matter is the only reality and that reality is understood though the physical sciences… (p. 349) shall read “Whereas behaviorism contends that matter is the only reality and that reality is understood through the physical sciences…”; The tools for helping individuals, groups, and communities become and stay regularly activity have been studied extensively in various populations” (p. 382) shall read “The tools for helping individuals, groups, and communities become and stay regularly active…”.
The references in the Bibliography section do not comply with the APA-style, which may be expected in a book on psychology, but the publisher is willing to give authors freedom in this respect. However, the reference style used is not coherent. References of chapters in edited books are mainly expressed as “edited by authors name…”, but also as “In authors name (Ed.).
Exercise Psychology is a good starting point for those who are interested in the subject area, and, through the website references, a source for keeping up to date with new research.
Copyright © Erwin Apitzsch 2013