OJPM  Vol.5 No.10 , October 2015
Factors Related to Engaging in Physical Activity: A Mixed Methods Study of Female University Students
ABSTRACT
Objective: As a needs assessment for intervention, quantitative and qualitative methods were used to examine attitude, subjective norms, perceived behavioral control, intention, knowledge, and weight control status related to physical activity in female university students within the Theory of Planned Behavior (TPB). Methods: A two-phase mixed method design was used. In Phase I, 362 students participated in an online survey, and in Phase II, 33 students participated in five focus group discussions. Ages of participants ranged from 18 to 45 years old, with 18 - 25 year olds making up over 74% of the sample. Results: Attitude, subjective norms, and perceived behavioral control, along with weight control status of trying to lose weight, were found to be significant predictors of intention to follow physical activity recommendations, which in turn were the strongest predictor of physical activity. Knowledge was not found to be significant. Group discussions revealed barriers to meeting physical activity recommendations, which included lack of companionship and social support, lack of motivation, time and cost restrictions, and lack of privacy in the gym. Social norms exerted both positive and negative influences. Conclusion: The mixed method approach provided a deeper insight into the influential factors pertaining to physical activity among female students, and results could be used in further research to develop effective interventions.

Cite this paper
H. Saaty, A. , B. Reed, D. , Zhang, W. and Boylan, M. (2015) Factors Related to Engaging in Physical Activity: A Mixed Methods Study of Female University Students. Open Journal of Preventive Medicine, 5, 416-425. doi: 10.4236/ojpm.2015.510046.
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