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Original Research Correlates of Participation in Physical Activity for Adolescent Girls: A Systematic Review of Recent Literature

Background: Many adolescent girls have low levels of physical activity and participation declines with age. This review identifies recent correlates of physical activity in adolescent girls. Methods: Systematic review of papers published 1999 to mid-2003. Papers (k = 51) reporting a measure of physical activity and at least one potential correlate of physical activity in adolescent girls were analyzed. Results: Demographics related to physical activity were female gender (–), non-white ethnicity (–), age (–), and socio-economic status (+). Psychological correlates positively associated with physical activity were enjoyment, perceived competence, self-efficacy, and physical self-perceptions. Behavioral correlates showed that smoking was associated with lower and organized sport involvement with greater activity. Physical activity was associated with parental and family support but we found no consistent trends for environmental variables. Effects were small-to-moderate. Conclusions: Modifiable correlates for adolescent girls clustered around “positive psychology,” organized sport involvement, and the family.

Authors: Stuart J.H. Biddle, Sarah H. Whitehead, Mary E. Nevill

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