Editor's Pick - June 2023



Physical activity, individual emotions, and prosocial attitudes: The role of citizen identity
Weijin Shi and Xiaobo Zhu (Shanghai Normal University), Junfeng Shi (Huangpu Institute of Education), Lijun Xu (Shanghai Normal University), and Wenyi Jiang (Shanghai Vocational College of Agriculture and Forestry), 2023 51(3), e12224



During the COVID-19 lockdowns in New Zealand, citizens were encouraged to exercise outside while maintaining physical distancing. As a family, we walked, scootered, or cycled in our local park nearly every day. I thought of our experiences when I read this study by Shi, Zhu, Shi, Xu, and Jiang (2023).

The authors investigated the effects physical activity had on people’s emotions and prosocial attitudes, and whether there was a difference between urban and rural dwellers. They argued that there would be a positive association between physical activity and prosocial attitudes, including social identity, empathy, and easing negative feelings.

Lockdown could be a stressful time, but we found that exercising regularly was a great stress relief. Each day we saw lots of other individuals and families exercising too, and we would wave to each other from a safe distance. There was a real sense of community during this time – “we’re all in this together”. Our experience echoes Walseth’s findings (2006), that physical activity increases interaction with the community, and strengthens a person’s sense of community identity.

The authors found that the effect of physical activity on urban and rural citizens is different, possibly because rural citizens have more opportunities for physical exercise in their daily lives. As an urban dweller, I am grateful that we have beautiful parks and bush walks nearby to entice us outside for exercise.

Kelly Baildon | Publishing Editor
Social Behavior and Personality: an international journal