In this article, the authors report the results of a case study examining a group-based exercise program for older adult men. The purpose of the investigation was to identify the elements of this program responsible for its appeal. Interviews, conducted with a purposely sampled subset of program members, were subject to content-analytic procedures. Participants identified social connectedness (reflected by themes of demographic homogeneity, support and care, customs and traditions, and interpersonal comparisons) and supportive leadership behaviors (constituted by communication, the provision of choice, and individualized attention) as major attractions in the program. A few participants also noted the challenge that exists when a program is seen by some as being a social program that provides opportunities for exercise and by others as an exercise program that provides opportunities for socializing. Findings are discussed in relation to contextual factors associated with older adult men’s involvement in physical activity programs.
Dunlop is with the Dept. of Psychology, and Beauchamp, the School of Kinesiology, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC, Canada.