Exercise as it relates to Disease/Exercise and the connection between mood regulation and trait emotional intelligence

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The following is a critique of the article: Solanki, D., & Lane, A. (2010). Relationships between Exercise as a Mood Regulation Strategy and Trait Emotional Intelligence. Asian Journal Of Sports Medicine, 1(4), p.195-200[1].

What is the background to this research?[edit]

Mood-regulation strategies are thoughts and behaviors intended to eliminate, maintain or change emotional states[2]. Trait emotional intelligence refers to one's emotional self perceptions within personality hierarchies and considers the effective aspects of personality[3]. The intended purpose of mood regulation is an increase in the positive mood state, aimed at enhancing well-being, whilst minimizing/ eliminating negative mood states.

There are chemicals within the brain which are responsible for both regulation and mood, dopamine is a hormone associated with happiness and serotonin regulates our mood. Previous studies have shown that exercise has been demonstrated to be mood-enhancing and can be used as a strategy to help regulate mood states and emotional connectivity [4]. If people believe that emotions can be change by exercising, they will invest efforts to implement emotion regulation strategies[5].

The purpose of this study was to discover the link between mood regulation and trait emotional intelligence and how exercise can be beneficial in prompting positive enhancements to these occurrences.

Where is the research from?[edit]

Participants were selected from health and fitness clubs within Birmingham, UK to take part in the study[1]. Each participant reportedly engaged in exercise one session per week with a variety of exercise based activities undertaken. Furthermore no conflicts on interest were present.

What kind of research was this?[edit]

The study conducted was based on a self report system where information was collected in order to form a qualitative based data field.315 individuals (160 males and 155 females) were selected to take part in this study.

The final results were indicative of previous studies which suggest the same admission, that exercise does play a role in mood regulation and emotional intelligence.

What did the research involve?[edit]

315 individuals (160 males and 155 females) were selected to take part in this study, mean age=26.77, s=5.49 years. A 33-item self report measure of trait emotional intelligence and an exercise-mood regulation scale (EMRS) was utilized as a measurement tool [1].

Items were rated on a 5-point Likert scale ranging from 0 (not at all) to 4 (extremely)[1].

Example of the Questionnaire [1]
Not at all A little Moderately Quite a bit Extremely
0 1 2 3 4
  1. If you need to feel Restful, how effective is taking part in exercise as a strategy to achieve this feeling
  2. If you need to feel Relaxed, how effective is taking part in exercise as a strategy to achieve this feeling
  3. If you need to feel Lively, how effective is taking part in exercise as a strategy to achieve this feeling

The methodology was perhaps not the best approach as self reported cases are often misreported therefore results can be incorrect or out of proportion

One main limitation of the study regards the use of correlation based research design. Determining the direction of relationships linking emotional intelligence and mood-regulation through the use of exercise isn't possible[1] . Furthermore controlling the type, duration and intensity of exercise undertaken by the individuals was also not applicable.

What were the basic results?[edit]

Solanki & Lane[1] discovered that emotional intelligence related significantly (r=0.45, P<0.01) to perceptions that exercise was an effective strategy to enhance mood. Results are indicated in the below link showing a graphed visual representation.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/core/lw/2.0/html/tileshop_pmc/tileshop_pmc_inline.html?title=Click%20on%20image%20to%20zoom&p=PMC3&id=3289183_ASJSM-1-195-g001.jpg [1]

The ascertained results indicated that the hypothesis proposing that emotional intelligence relative to exercise can be deemed a worthy strategy an enhancing mood regulation. Those who displayed a higher level of emotional intelligence seemed to be more sensitive to the effects of exercise and mood enhancement as opposed to those less emotionally intelligent.

The researchers discovered a positive correlation between emotional intelligence and mood regulation when exercise was used as an intervention. It was important for the researchers to consider the variations in exercise type, duration and intensity which would effect results. Although the results are a clear indication to support the proposed hypothesis, further study could analyse which variations of exercise would produce better results. Previous research is suggestive of this demonstrating that individuals derive greater mood enhancement when they engage in their preferred exercise modality[6].

As previously suggested, Solanki & Lane [1] acknowledged the limitations of their study and recognized the need for future studies to be more strict through control based protocols restricting to tighter guidelines.

What conclusions can we take from this research?[edit]

The study's findings were indicative that exercise has a phenomenal effect as a mood regulator and those scoring higher in emotional intelligence seemed to exercise regularly for a further cascade effect. Whilst exercise promotes feelings of well-being and positive mood traits, its important to acknowledge that exercise can have an effect on an individuals but seems to be relative to mood prior to activity.

Studies have emphasized that mood enhancement is dependent upon interactions between participant, exercise modality and practice conditions; and made several recommendations for structuring an exercise session to maximize mood enhancement. The general consensus among recent studies suggest that exercise will enhance positive mood traits and effectively create trait emotional intelligence. Other studies link exercise to mood improvements, with many associating decreased depressive symptoms and established social identity through the participation in exercise [7].

Practical advice[edit]

In the real world, there is a common acceptance that exercise not only promotes health bodily functions, but works to create a positive sense of self- which in turn creates mood regulation. Through participation in regular exercise individuals are able to develop a connection between emotional intelligence and positive mood traits.

Without vague exaggeration, exercise has the ability to reduce some mental health cost burdens on the economy. The bigger picture is that we should exercise for ALL facets of health including physical and mental. In increasing the amount of exercise that we partake in, we can increase our emotional intelligence, with on-going mood regulation through activity.

What further reading may interested readers benefit from?

Further reading[edit]

For further information resources regarding the role exercise plays in trait emotion intelligence and mood regulation visit:

Better Health Channel Victoria- https://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/health/healthyliving/exercise-and-mental-health

Black Dog Institute- https://www.blackdoginstitute.org.au/get-involved/exercise-your-mood

Journal of Health Psychology- http://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/1359105307082458?journalCode=hpqa

References[edit]

  1. a b c d e f g h i Solanki, D., & Lane, A. (2010). Relationships between Exercise as a Mood Regulation Strategy and Trait Emotional Intelligence. Asian Journal Of Sports Medicine, 1(4), p.195-200
  2. Totterdell P, Briner RB, Reynolds S. Changing moods: The psychology of mood and mood regulation. London: Longman; 1996.
  3. Siegling, A., Furnham, A., & Petrides, K. (2014). Trait Emotional Intelligence and Personality. Journal Of Psychoeducational Assessment, 33(1), 57-67.
  4. Berger, B., & Motl, R. (2000). Exercise and mood: A selective review and synthesis of research employing the profile of mood states. Journal Of Applied Sport Psychology, 12(1), 69-92. doi: 10.1080/10413200008404214.
  5. John OP, Gross JJ. Individual differences in emotion regulation. 2007.
  6. Lane AM, Jackson A, Terry PC. Preferred modality influences on exercise-induced mood changes. J Sports Sci Med. 2005;4:195–200.
  7. Fox, K. (1999). The influence of physical activity on mental well-being. Public Health Nutrition, 2(3a). doi: 10.1017/s1368980099000567