Motivations, Constraints, and Lifestyle Adjustments Associated with Urban Taiwanese Women's Use of Sport and Health Clubs

By Yen, Chun-Chang; Ho, Li-Hsing et al. | Social Behavior and Personality: an international journal, July 2012 | Go to article overview

Motivations, Constraints, and Lifestyle Adjustments Associated with Urban Taiwanese Women's Use of Sport and Health Clubs


Yen, Chun-Chang, Ho, Li-Hsing, Su, Wei-San, Hsueh, Yao-Shun, Huang, Hsiu-Chin, Social Behavior and Personality: an international journal


In the past, women in Taiwan had low social status, and were denied opportunity for self-development in education, in the family, religion, law, and politics. The rise of feminism has resulted in social changes in many countries of the world; governments, society, and the community have begun to pay attention to the rights, demands, motivations, and ideas of women, and, as a result, perceptions of women's status and worth have improved (Aitchison, 2005; Houkamau, 2010). The United Nations (2004) set out to achieve the Millennium Development Goals by 2015, among which are the promotion of gender equality, the empowerment of women, and the improvement of maternal health. These goals have fueled ongoing discussion in the relevant faculties of academia. If the scope of study on female societal changes is focused on women in an urban setting, their development is of particular interest and significance because, in Taiwan, it is urban women who have increasingly participated in recreational activities for fun and self-improvement. Women have gradually changed their physical consciousness (Bordo, 1993; Brownell, 1991), and now participate in leisure sports for lifestyle adjustment, to maintain control over their physique, for mood adjustment, or for social interaction (Eklund & Crawford, 1994). In Taiwan the college enrolment rate for women has increased from 50.74% in 1980 to 96.01% in 2010. Since 2000, the annual rate of increase in the number of female workers has been over 1%. The number of marriages decreased from 181,642 in 2000 to 138,819 in 2010, and the number of divorces increased from 52,670 in 2000 to 58,115 in 2010 (National Statistics, ROC, 2011). However, the female labor force participation rate in Taiwan is still lower than that of half of the world's developed countries (The Council of Labor Affairs, 2011). The Taiwan Association for Women in Sports was established on April 30, 2005; with the aim of promoting women's involvement in sports-related activities (The Sports Affairs Council, 2010). These social changes illustrate the improvements in Taiwanese women's consciousness, autonomy, independence, and self-improvement, as well as the government's attention to increasing women's participation in sports. In this study we examined the current situation of the motivations, constraints, and lifestyle adjustments in terms of urban women's participation in leisure sports in Taiwan. The aim was to understand the consciousness of modern urban women in Taiwan and related issues.

Individual participation in leisure sports is motivated by free choice (Edginton, Jordan, Degraaf, & Edginton, 1995). Deci and Ryan (1991) identified self-determination as a major source of motivation. Individual intrinsic rewards, gained from participation in leisure sports as a result of intrinsic motivation, could elicit further inner motivations for the individual's continued participation (Weissinger & Bandalos, 1995). Lounsbury and Hoopes (1990) listed six basic factors involved in leisure motivation: intelligence pursuance, sociality desires, competence (mastery), stimulus (avoidance), excitement pursuance, and work facilitation. Eklund and Crawford (1994) stated that women have taken an active part in social or sport activities in recent years in order to achieve lifestyle adjustment and satisfaction, to increase or change psychical cognition, and to engage in social interaction through participating in leisure sports (Abell & Richards, 1996; Hausenblas & Carron, 1999). Because motivation is a prerequisite for action, gaining an understanding of women's motivation for participating in leisure sports could help to boost the effect and duration of women's participation in leisure sports.

Ellis and Rademacher (1987) defined constraints to leisure sports as any factors that limit or block the frequency, duration, and quality of the individual's participation in leisure sports. Leisure constraints can be divided into three categories: intrinsic, interpersonal, and structural (Crawford, Jackson, & Godbey, 1991; Hawkins, Peng, Hsieh, & Eklund, 1999). …

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