Capabilities for Physical Activity by Turkish- and Russian-Speaking Immigrants Aged 65 Years and Older in Germany: A Qualitative Study

in Journal of Aging and Physical Activity
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This study builds upon Sen’s seminal capability approach to analyze the interplay of individual and structural factors for immigrants’ physical activity (PA) in old age. The authors conducted software-assisted thematic analysis of group interviews with Turkish- and Russian-speaking immigrants aged 65 years and older in Germany (n = 19). The authors present how interviewees perceive diverse resources, environmental, social, and individual factors that shape their capabilities for PA. Age-related health literacy, family support, and access rules to sport opportunities shape both groups’ capabilities for PA. Turkish interviewees’ continuous bilocation and Russian interviewees’ past experience with PA as workplace exercise are two major differences between those groups. Results indicate that capabilities are ambiguous—managed and shaped by individuals, which makes more static terms like barriers and options less helpful for an analysis. Systematically applying the capability approach in intervention research would allow to analyze interaction and to ultimately better reach underserved groups like immigrants 65 years and older.

Frahsa is with the Institute of Sports Science, Eberhard Karls University, Tübingen, Germany. Streber and Rütten are with the Department of Sports Science, Friedrich-Alexander-Universität, Erlangen, Germany. Wolff is with the Landeszentrale für Gesundheit, München, Germany.

Frahsa (annika.frahsa@uni-tuebingen.de) is corresponding author.
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