Facilitators and barriers to physical activity among English adolescents in secondary schools: a mixed method study.

MOORE, Richard, VERNON, Tim, GREGORY, Maxine and FREEMAN, Elizabeth (2023). Facilitators and barriers to physical activity among English adolescents in secondary schools: a mixed method study. Frontiers in Public Health, 11: 1235086.

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Official URL: https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fpubh...
Link to published version:: https://doi.org/10.3389/fpubh.2023.1235086


Background: It is evident that physical activity (PA) programmes implemented in schools were not effective in improving PA behaviours among adolescents. This study investigated students’ perceptions of barriers to PA among inactive English adolescents in secondary schools based on the Capability, Opportunity, Motivation, and Behaviour (COM-B) model, the Behaviour Change Wheel (BCW), and Theoretical Domains Framework (TDF). The study compared barriers faced by inactive and active groups participating in sports and PA in secondary schools to identify sources of behaviour contributing to inactivity. Methods: A pre-intervention online survey was distributed to affiliated schools by 233 Teaching Schools Alliances (TSAs) as part of the monitoring and evaluation of the Secondary Teacher Training study. Data were cross-tabulated to analyse activity levels and behavioural barriers for active and inactive groups, using the COM-B domains. The research team followed a seven-step process to categorise barriers based on their relevant domain in the TDF mapped to the COM-B. Results: The findings were derived from one of the most extensive surveys of adolescents ever undertaken involving 200,623 active and 8,231 inactive respondents. The study identified 52 barriers and 68 behaviours that prevent adolescents from participating in PA. Psychological and social barriers were found to affect all activity levels, genders, and ethnic groups, with a lack of confidence and self-consciousness being the most prevalent. Certain demographic groups, such as those from minority ethnic groups and disabled individuals, were found to be overrepresented among inactive populations. The finding of the study indicated that there were common barriers that affected both inactive and active groups, with further similarity when examining barriers between active and inactive girls. The study also found that girls were more likely to experience the main barriers compared to boys, while inactive boys were more likely to encounter these barriers compared to active boys. The findings suggest that common barriers could be addressed across the population, while recognising some differences in demographics, and the need to provide personalised support. Targeted interventions are also suggested for all girls and inactive boys. Conclusion: This study highlights the range of barriers that impact adolescents and provides insight into potential mechanisms for behaviour change, including intervention functions, policy categories, and evidence-based behaviour change tools. The study highlights the need for further research to address the barriers to PA among adolescents, particularly those who are inactive. Utilising the findings of this study, future research should investigate the effectiveness of novel digital exercise interventions and policies in increasing PA levels among children and adolescents. Complex digital exercise interventions, including conversational AI solutions, could provide personalised tools to identify and revolutionise support around the multitude of barriers that impact adolescents globally. “For the purpose of open access, the author has applied a Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) licence to any Author Accepted Manuscript version arising from this submission.”

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: COM-B model; adolescents; conversational AI; digital exercise intervention; inactivity; physical activity; secondary schools; Child; Humans; Adolescent; Female; Male; Exercise; Sedentary Behavior; Schools; Motivation; Sports; 1117 Public Health and Health Services; 4203 Health services and systems; 4206 Public health
Identification Number: https://doi.org/10.3389/fpubh.2023.1235086
SWORD Depositor: Symplectic Elements
Depositing User: Symplectic Elements
Date Deposited: 13 Sep 2023 14:52
Last Modified: 11 Oct 2023 11:46
URI: https://shura.shu.ac.uk/id/eprint/32370

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