Adolescent Girls' Perceived Barriers to Participation in Physical Activity

By Dwyer, John J. M.; Allison, Kenneth R. et al. | Adolescence, Spring 2006 | Go to article overview
Save to active project

Adolescent Girls' Perceived Barriers to Participation in Physical Activity


Dwyer, John J. M., Allison, Kenneth R., Goldenberg, Ellie R., Fein, Allan J., Yoshida, Karen K., Boutilier, Marie A., Adolescence


Establishing patterns of physical activity during childhood and adolescence is important for immediate gains in health and well-being and to develop positive behaviors that can be deployed throughout the life course. Concern about increased levels of childhood overweight and obesity and whether this pattern will continue into adolescence underscores the importance of being physically active (Dishman, Sallis, & Orenstein, 1985; Sallis, Prochaska, & Taylor, 2000; U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 1996). However, studies report a decline in physical activity levels during adolescence (Allison, Dwyer, & Makin, 1999a, b; Frankish, Milligan, & Reid, 1998). This decline occurs more sharply among girls, with girls being less physically active than boys (Allison & Adlaf, 1997; Allison et al., 1999b; Garcia, Pender, Antonakos, & Ronis, 1998; Higgins, Gaul, Gibbons, & Van Gyn, 2003; Sallis et al., 2000; Trost et al., 2002). Thus, it is important to understand what makes it difficult for adolescent girls to participate in physical activity.

Quantitative and qualitative studies have examined barriers and other factors that influence physical activity among adolescent girls. Quantitative studies have focused on correlates and predictors of physical activity, exercise, and sport such as gender (Frankish et al., 1998; Higgins et al., 2003; Sallis et al., 2000), age (Frankish et al., 1998; Higgins et al., 2003; Sallis et al., 2000), achievement orientation (Sallis et al., 2000), perceived competence (Sallis et al., 2000), lack of motivation (Robbins, Pender, & Kazanis, 2003; Saxena, Borzekowski, & Rickert, 2002; Sherwood & Jeffery, 2000; Tappe, Duda, & Ehrnwald, 1989), social support (Frankish et al., 1998), lack of time (Allison et al., 1999b; Robbins et al., 2003; Saxena et al., 2002; Tappe et al., 1989; Tergerson & King, 2002), and previous involvement in physical activity or community sports (Sallis et al., 2000). Qualitative studies of barriers to physical activity among adolescent girls suggest that the barriers are specific to the adolescent stage (Coakley & White, 1992; Culp, 1998; Harris, 1993; Humbert, 1995; Sleap & Wormald, 2001). For example, adolescent girls reported barriers such as: gender roles, peer influence, and self-concept (Culp, 1998); parents and opposite-sex friends (Coakley & White, 1992); lack of self-confidence (Culp, 1998; Sleap & Wormald, 2001); and lack of time (Sleap & Wormald, 2001). Also, they reported their physical education classes involve uncomfortable physical exertion (Harris, 1993) and ridicule and embarrassment (Humbert, 1995).

The purpose of this study was to explore perceived barriers to physical activity participation among adolescent girls who live in a large ethnoracially and socioeconomically diverse city. While other studies (Robbins et al., 2003; Saxena et al., 2002; Tappe et al., 1989) have examined the issue of barriers to physical activity among adolescent girls, the present study is different in that multi-ethnic groups of adolescent girls participated in focus groups to provide indepth qualitative data. This study is one component of a comprehensive assessment of barriers to physical activity among Canadian youth conducted by this research team. Also, results of this study were to be used to plan other components such as interviews with adolescents and a national survey of youth aged 13-18.

METHOD

Participants

During the recruitment phase, interested adolescents completed a background information survey consisting of questions regarding their gender, age, current grade, and ethnoracial origin. Seventy-three adolescent girls from four secondary schools in different regions of Toronto participated in I of 7 focus group sessions. Toronto has a population of approximately 2.4 million which includes over 90 ethnocultural groups (City of Toronto, n.d.). Participants were selected to ensure ethnocultural diversity in each session.

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
Loading One moment ...
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited article

Adolescent Girls' Perceived Barriers to Participation in Physical Activity
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

While we understand printed pages are helpful to our users, this limitation is necessary to help protect our publishers' copyrighted material and prevent its unlawful distribution. We are sorry for any inconvenience.
Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.

Are you sure you want to delete this highlight?