A Systematic Synthesis of Evidence Regarding Relationship of Physical Activity and Sports Participation With Trait Self-control

  • Asif Ali Assistant Professor, Department of Physical Education & Sports Science, The Islamia University of Bahawalpur, Pakistan
  • Muhammad Azam 2. Assistant Professor, Department of Physical Education, University of Gujrat, Pakistan.
  • Jawairyiah Mattiullah Scholar, Virtual University, Islamabad, Pakistan
  • Adeel Akhtar Bahauddin Zakariya University, Multan, Pakistan
Keywords: Self-Control, Exercise, Activity, Prevention, Trait


Background: Individuals with low level of trait self-control exhibit several negative behaviors such as violence, addictive behaviors (drug addiction, technological addictions), suicide, unhealthy eating, and criminal behaviors. In contrast, high level of self-control thought to be associated with positive psychosocial and physical health related outcomes. Interventions contribute to boost self-control seems essential for individual with risk of low trait self-control.

Objectives: The purpose of this study is to systematically evaluate the relationship between physical activity and trait self-control.

Methods: For this purpose, full-text articles were searched in research databases including Psych INFO, PubMed, Medline, The Cochrane Library, Wiley Library, Taylor & Francis, Science Direct, Springer, ERIC, JSTOR, Google scholar, and Sage Journals.  Following screening for the study selection criteria and assessment of risk of bias, twenty one studies (13cross-sectional, 5 longitudinal and 3 interventions) with low or moderate risks of bias were finally selected for qualitative synthesis.

Results: Findings from all of the included studies consistently showed that there was a significantly positive relationship between physical activity and trait self-control.It is suggested that increasing self-efficacy, decreasing aggression, and improvement in positive and negative emotional states might be underlying mechanisms working for beneficial effects of physical activity on trait self-control.

Conclusion: These suggest that physical activity and exercise may serve as a potential means to enhance trait self-control. Practical implementation and recommendations for policy makers are put forward in this connection.


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