This Girl Can: An Ecological Approach to Investigating Physical Activity in Urban Females

PhD Thesis


Hull, R. (2019). This Girl Can: An Ecological Approach to Investigating Physical Activity in Urban Females. PhD Thesis https://doi.org/10.18744/lsbu.921v4
AuthorsHull, R.
TypePhD Thesis
Abstract

Despite the widely documented physical, psychological and social benefits associated with physical activity, 86% of young females in the UK are insufficiently active (Sport England 2018). In order to improve physical activity levels among young females aged 14-25 in the London Borough of Lambeth, the local council partnered with five physical activity providers and our research team. Together we embarked on the This Girl Can Lambeth project which was inspired by the national campaign This Girl Can. Our role in the project was to evaluate its implementation and outcomes, and additionally to identify barriers and facilitators to participation for this population. We wanted to capture the
intrapersonal and interpersonal factors that are often described in literature, but also the relevant environmental, organisational and legislative factors, therefore we used an ecological framework to guide our research. A systematic review of literature showed that the majority of interventions aimed at young females take place in educational settings and focus on either physiological or psychological intrapersonal factors. In an intervention study we compared a physical education program with a school-based intervention program, to investigate its effects on the behaviour and health of young females. Although the intervention program included multi-sports, and encouraged the building of rapport and a foundation for sustained participation in community-based exit routes, we found no clear
benefit of the intervention program over physical education. In subsequent qualitative studies we investigated what was amiss. We conducted focus groups with young females who had participated in the intervention programs to understand what factors they perceived to influence their participation.
The focus groups highlighted organisational and environmental factors as primary barriers to physical activity. Such factors are stable features of their lives making them difficult barriers to overcome.
However, when we interviewed the physical activity providers, the barriers to participation that they perceived were quite different. They identified intrapersonal factors such as self-efficacy and body image as the main barriers to participation. The physical activity providers also discussed the influence
of organisational, environmental and legislative factors. The findings from this project can inform interventions, research and policy to ensure Girls indeed Can.

Year2019
PublisherLondon South Bank University
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.18744/lsbu.921v4
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Publication dates
Print28 Oct 2019
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Deposited06 Oct 2022
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This Girl Can, can't she? Perspectives from exercise providers and participants on what factors influence participation  
Hull, R., Zaidell, L., Mileva, K. and De Oliveira, R. (2021). This Girl Can, can't she? Perspectives from exercise providers and participants on what factors influence participation  . Psychology of Sport and Exercise. 57, p. 102043. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.psychsport.2021.102043