Education and Human Sciences, College of (CEHS)


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A DISSERTATION Presented to the Faculty of The Graduate College at the University of Nebraska In Partial Fulfillment of Requirements For the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy, Major: Human Sciences. Under the Supervision of Professor James A. Thorson.
Lincoln, Nebraska: May 2009
Copyright (c) 2009 Jayme D. Nekuda.


Health and Retirement Study data was used to examine the relationship between retirement and vigorous physical activity. The independent variables studied were vigorous physical activity in 1998 (T1) and retirement status in 2000 (T2). The dependent variable was vigorous physical activity in 2000 (T2). The entire sample consisted of 5,351 respondents who were in the workforce in 1998 (T1). In 2000 (T2), 4,449 reported still being in the workforce while 902 reported having retired between T1 and T2. The affect was controlled by the covariates of age, gender, education, income, race and perceived health status. These covariates together predicted approximately 16.5% to 22% of the variability in participation of vigorous physical activity. Participants in the entire sample consisted of 51.7% males, 48.3% females, average age of 59, average income of $80,558, and average years of education was 13.03. White/Caucasian individuals accounted for 82.4%, 13.5% were Black/African American and slightly over four percent reported being “Other”. Those who retired between T1 and T2 consisted of 57.4% males, 42.6% females, average income of $56,828, and average years of education was 12.56. Individuals’ perceived health status did not significantly change from T1 to T2 whether or not they retired. Examination found that the most significant indicator of participation in vigorous physical activity after retirement was an individual’s participation in vigorous physical activity prior to retirement. There was no relationship however, between retirement status and participation in vigorous physical activity. Gender was significantly related to participation in vigorous physical activity, with men’s participation being higher than women’s. Perceived health status was also found to be significantly related to participation in vigorous physical activity. Those who perceived their health as excellent, very good or good were significantly more likely to participate in vigorous physical activity than those who reported their health as fair or poor. Education was negatively correlated to vigorous physical activity which contradicted the literature.
Advisor: James A. Thorson

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