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Time Perspective and Physical Self-concept Essay

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Updated: Feb 6th, 2022

The article Time perspective, sports club membership, and physical self-concept among adolescents: A person-centered approach analyzes the relation between the concept of time attitude and physical self-esteem in teenagers. The study researched the technologies of forming time perspectives of teenagers and their connection with physical self-concept. Time perspective was measured and evaluated with a scale of pleasant and unpleasant feelings about various periods of time, from the past to the future. German, Luxembourgian, and Spanish 12-18-year-old teenagers participated in the study (Konowalczyk, Rade, & Mello, 2019). The conducted research is important in the development of a constructive attitude of adolescents towards their future and can promote physical health and sports club membership among this category of the population.

Time perspective is a mental projection of a person’s motivational sphere and represents conscious hopes, plans, projects, aspirations, and fears of the past, present, and future. The interest in problems related to the temporal aspects of human existence grew throughout the twentieth century. The studies of Frank, Zimbardo, Boyd, Keough, Linden, LauBarraco, Hollis, Mello, Worrell, and other researchers have been used in the article to demonstrate the relation of time attitude and physical self-esteem among teenagers (Konowalczyk et al., 2019). The researchers considered time perspective as the synthesized views of the individuals on their psychological future and past, subjectively existing at a given moment in time. According to Zimbardo, time perspective is a fundamental and unconscious process by which personal experience is correlated with temporal categories, which makes it possible to give meaning and continuity to the experience (Konowalczyk et al., 2019). The content and elaboration of time perspective are an essential characteristic of a person’s consciousness associated with the motivations of behavior and the general emotional tone. On this basis, time perspective was singled out as a separate relatively independent subject of empirical study.

The distribution of respondents by types of time perspectives was carried out following five factors: Positive Past, Negative Past, Hedonistic Present, Fatalistic Present, and Future. When the past not only dominates in the respondent’s answers, but appears as a source of positive self-presentation, it allows maintaining high self-esteem, emotional stability, a sense of continuity, and identity (Konowalczyk et al., 2019). For adolescents with the dominant Positive Past indicator, the past becomes a source of experience and hope. This refers to their subjective reality, not to an objective reconstruction of the events that happened to them. Teenagers with a Positive Past perspective are more prone to higher physical self-concept.

When Negative Past attitude dominates, the respondent also refers to the events that have already taken place, but highlights irreversible mistakes or feels a sense of guilt. Negativism can be associated with real unpleasant experiences, but also with a later reconstruction of initially neutral and even favorable events. According to Zimbardo’s description, the reconstruction of the past as a negative experience is related to a high level of aggressiveness (Konowalczyk et al., 2019). For this orientation, Zimbardo also notes low self-esteem, emotional instability, and impulsivity among adolescents.

Hedonistic Present corresponds to the attitude towards getting pleasure without attention to future consequences. Teenagers with this orientation are prone to addictions, care little about the results, are impulsive and spontaneous in their behavior. They are emotionally unstable and can easily provoke violent and destructive reactions. Fatalistic Present is another category, associated with high risks of personal pathology, the manifestations of which can be aggressiveness, anxiety, and depression (Konowalczyk et al., 2019). It means the conviction that a person’s life is not subject to conscious control, that freedom of choice is illusory, and there is no point in planning anything for the future. Both Hedonistic Present and Fatalistic Present attitudes are not future-oriented (Konowalczyk et al., 2019). Such adolescents have less frequent physical exercise habits than respondents with a positive view of the present.

Future-oriented teenagers usually focus on achieving quick and significant results in sport and other areas of life. Such people make short-term plans and try to implement them as energetically as possible. For them, tomorrow’s anticipated success or loss is a reserve and source for today’s decisions and actions. They think about consequences and postpone pleasure for the future reward. According to Zimbardo, such people may experience anxiety, are subject to constant rivalry motivation, and tend to demonstrate their capabilities (Konowalczyk et al., 2019). Such adolescents show the best results in sport and physical self-concept.

The study has shown the following time attitude profiles among adolescents: Balanced, a neutral time perspective; Ambivalent, strong positive or negative feelings about a particular time period; Positive, pleasant feelings about each period; Negative, unpleasant emotions about each time. An Optimistic profile can also be defined, with negative thoughts about the past and positive emotions about the future (Konowalczyk et al., 2019). The Balanced profile is optimal for the mobilization of psychological resources. It provides a productive synthesis of reflections on all periods of time, depending on situational requirements, assessment of opportunities, personal, and social evaluations.

For this research, attitudes towards time were estimated with the help of the Adolescent Time Attitude Scale (ATAS). It consisted of six sub-scales: Positive Past, Negative Past, Positive Present, Negative Present, Positive Future, and Negative Future (Konowalczyk et al., 2019). Time attitude profiles were associated with physical ability, self-concept, and sports club membership. The results demonstrated that teenagers with Positive profile were more engaged in sports and physical activities than other profiles. They had the highest physical abilities and self-esteem, followed by those participants who had Optimistic and Balanced profiles (Konowalczyk et al., 2019). The Ambivalent profiles showed the lowest physical ability and self-esteem. The relationship between physical and mental health and time attitude has demonstrated the importance of a balance between a positive attitude to the past, orientation towards the future, and enjoyment in the present.

The analysis of data obtained in this study has distinguished two main groups of adolescents, differing in the characteristics of the time perspective. The first group is characterized by a general positive attitudinal profile. For example, those teenagers who attended Olympic center had more positive feelings toward all periods of time in comparison with their peers (Konowalczyk et al., 2019). The respondents who made up this group tend to easily refer to their past, to feel warm, nostalgic feelings towards it. They are future-oriented and perceive the present as constructed and changed by the individual. They have a common focus on future goals, plans, and actions for their implementation. In comparison with the respondents from other groups, they are more inclined to give up alcohol consumption and feel the minimum restrictions imposed by the state of health on their daily activity (Konowalczyk et al., 2019). At the same time, their system of life values is characterized by greater pragmatism. This group is the most favorable in terms of sports activities and physical self-concept.

The second group is characterized by a negative attitudinal profile, including an unpleasant attitude towards the past, combined with a fatalistic perception of the present. The respondents experience various negative emotions and painful experiences associated with the past, subjectively evaluated traumatic experience (Konowalczyk et al., 2019). At the same time, the attitude towards the present includes a feeling of helplessness, powerlessness, lack of confidence in their ability to influence the events of their lives. The physical health and self-esteem of the respondents in this group are the most impaired (Konowalczyk et al., 2019). The respondents of this group feel a decrease in vital activity, as well as various negative emotional states associated with depressive and anxious experiences. They appear to be the most unfavorable in terms of sports club membership, social activities, and academic performance.

In the course of empirical research, the hypothesis about differences between the time perspective of adolescents with high and low physical self-concept has been confirmed. In teenagers who are members of sports clubs, the time perspective is formed for longer-term plans. It is also clear from the data that in those adolescents who have low physical self-esteem, a short-term time perspective is more robust (Konowalczyk et al., 2019). Based on the data obtained, it can be asserted about the violation of subjectivity and psychological perception of time, as well as the discontinuity of the sense of time, directly related to the time attitude profile of such teenagers.

Besides, the study has shown that time attitude is related to the personality traits of adolescents, self-efficacy, anxiety level, and value orientations. Competence in time can be viewed as a process aimed at the reflection and awareness of one’s life path (Konowalczyk et al., 2019). Adolescents who perceive the present in its entirety and aspire to the future can invest in their healthy lifestyle more than their peers who have difficulties in building a time perspective (Konowalczyk et al., 2019). Thus, an adequate attitude to time determines a relatively quick personal and professional self-determination. An adequate physical activity at a young age contributes to the harmonious formation of the personality and the body. Teenagers who are members of sports clubs are more developed, stronger, and motivated by future health benefits.

Perception of time is an essential component of the development and functioning of personality, especially among adolescents who actively form their identity. The conducted study focused on the emotional, cognitive, and behavioral aspects of time perception of young adults. Time attitude is an unconscious process by which the experience of a teenager is placed in certain time categories or time frames, thus giving it order, coherence, and meaning. This is an important research in exploring the relationship between time perspective, health motivation, physical self-esteem, and engagement in sports activities for young adults. The study has shown that the ability of teenagers to invest in their health is directly related to their assessment of the subjective time continuum. The factor of time attitude is important in the development of sports programs and activities for teenagers. Thus, the concept of time perspective can be useful in promoting adolescent physical health.


Konowalczyk, S., Rade, F. C. A., & Mello, Z. R. (2019). Time perspective, sports club membership, and physical self-concept among adolescents: A person-centered approach. Journal of Adolescence, 72, 141-151.

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