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Here is an abstract from the health behavior research literature. Which research study design appears to be described in this abstract? Once you identify the research study design, then define that design and provide an explanation of why you think it is that design.

Health behavior researchers assessed and compared sex/race differences on psychosocial factors related to physical activity among college students. The researchers surveyed 636 undergraduates at one point in time and determined the average frequency of physical activity was 3.5 days per week. While comparing subgroups, health/fitness was rated as the most important motive for exercise, followed by appearance and mental health. Enjoyment and the use of self-management strategies were most strongly associated with activity level. Only 40% were aware that adults should accumulate 30 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity on most days of the week for health benefits. Health-related professionals should emphasize to college students the importance of learning self-management skills and enjoying the exercise experience.

McArthur, L.H. and Raedeke, T.D. (2009). Race and sex differences in college student physical activity correlates. Am J Health Behavior, 33(1):80-90.  

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Introduction:
The abstract provided discusses a research study conducted by health behavior researchers that aimed to assess and compare sex/race differences on psychosocial factors related to physical activity among college students. The researchers surveyed 636 undergraduates at one point in time and obtained several findings related to physical activity motives, average frequency, associated factors, and awareness of physical activity recommendations. To identify the research study design used in this abstract, we will analyze the characteristics of the study and provide an explanation of why this design is most suitable.

Answer:
Based on the information provided in the abstract, the research study design that appears to be described is a cross-sectional study.

A cross-sectional study design involves collecting data from a specific population at a single point in time to determine associations between variables. In this case, the researchers surveyed 636 undergraduates at one point in time to assess and compare sex/race differences on psychosocial factors related to physical activity. The design allows for the measurement of various variables, such as physical activity frequency, motives, associated factors, and awareness levels, among different subgroups of college students.

The cross-sectional study design is appropriate for this research because it provides a snapshot of the current situation without establishing causality or determining changes over time. It allows researchers to observe and compare different groups, such as sex and race, in terms of their psychosocial factors related to physical activity. By collecting data from a large sample size, the study can provide valuable insights into the overall patterns and differences among various subgroups of college students.

Additionally, the cross-sectional design enables researchers to identify associations between variables. In this study, the researchers identified that health/fitness was rated as the most important motive for exercise, followed by appearance and mental health. Enjoyment and the use of self-management strategies were also found to be strongly associated with activity level. Moreover, the awareness levels regarding the recommended amount of physical activity were determined. These associations provide valuable information for health-related professionals to emphasize the importance of specific factors to college students’ physical activity behaviors.

Overall, the cross-sectional study design employed in this research allows for the examination of sex/race differences and the assessment of psychosocial factors related to physical activity among college students at a specific point in time. It is well-suited to provide insights into the current status, associations, and differences within this population, which can inform future interventions and recommendations targeting college students’ physical activity behaviors.

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