Academic journal article Journal of Leisure Research

Do Age and Gender Matter in the Constraint Negotiation of Physically Active Leisure?

Academic journal article Journal of Leisure Research

Do Age and Gender Matter in the Constraint Negotiation of Physically Active Leisure?

Article excerpt


Physical activity provides a multitude of health benefits, including increased longevity and independence (Lee, Paffenbarger, & Hennekens, 1997; Shephard, 1997) as well as positive physical (Chandler & Hadley 19%; Oguma, Sesso, Paffenbarger, & Lee, 2001) and mental health (Morgan & Bath, 1998; Patterson & Chang, 1999) outcomes in later life. Even so, the majority of U.S. adults do not get adequate amounts of physical activity (CDC: Centers for Disease Control, 2000a), and older adults participate in the lowest levels of physical activity across all age groups (CDC, 2000b). Understanding which factors influence physical activity participation in mid to late life may highlight possible solutions to increasing participation in these populations. Further, elucidating the factors that contribute to the frequency of participation and the duration of an activity session, as well as their interrelationship, may enhance leisure professionals' ability to develop successful programs for physically active leisure opportunities for people 50 and older. For instance, understanding the role of negotiation strategies in helping middle-aged and older adults overcome constraints to active leisure participation would help inform "best practice" programs. Additionally, understanding whether the constraint negotiation process differs between participation frequency and activity duration would enhance the development of appropriate negotiation strategy building and motivational training for physically active leisure to improve the health and well-being of people 50 and older.

The Leisure Constraint Negotiation Process

Leisure constraints are typically denned as factors that limit or prohibit participation in desired leisure activities (Crawford & Godbey, 1987; Crawford,Jackson, & Godbey, 1991). Crawford and Godbey (1987) described three domains of constraints-intrapcrsonal, interpersonal and structural. Intrapersonal constraints were thought to exist within the individual, such as lack of self-efficacy, lack of interest, and physical inability. Interpersonal constraints were essentially social interaction considerations, for example, not having someone with whom to participate. Structural constraints were denned as features of the environment, such as lack of facilities, lack of low-cost options, and absence of sidewalks.

Crawford et al. (1991) later developed a hierarchical model of leisure constraints, with three main extensions to the earlier conceptualization: 1) explicit articulation of constraint negotiation, in which people utilize various strategies to overcome constraints; 2) a hierarchy of importance, from proximal (intrapcrsonal) to distal (structural); and 3) a hierarchy of social privilege, with emphasis on the ways that opportunities and constraints differ by social class. Jackson, Crawford, and Godbey (1993) provided further elaboration of the hierarchical model in response to research on constraint negotiation (Kay & Jackson, 1991 ; Scott, 1991 ; Shaw, Bonen, & McCabe, 1991), focusing on level of participation rather than an either/or dichotomy between participation and nonparticipation. There is some support for the propositions outlined by Jackson et al. (1993) (Alexandris & Carroll, 1997; Alexandris, Tsorbatzoudis, & Grouis, 2002; Carroll & Alexandris, 1997; Hubbard & Mannell, 2001; Raymore, Godbey, Crawford, & von Eye, 1993), although there is a lack of research utilizing different populations (Hawkins, Peng, Hsieh, & Eklund, 1999), particularly individuals 50 and older, and multiple methodologies (Samdahl & Jekubovich, 1997).

Based on Jackson et al.'s (1993) propositions, Hubbard and Mannell (2001) tested four competing models on the role of constraint, negotiation and motivation on physically active leisure, finding support for what they called the "constraint-effectsmitigation" model. They found that there were two counterbalancing forces that took place in the presence of constraint. …

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