The Impact of Sport on Young Women’s Attitude to Physical Activity in Adult Life

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Eva-Carin Lindgren School of Social & Health Sciences Halmstad University, POBox 823 301 18 Halmstad Sweden

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Ulla Tebelius School of Social & Health Sciences Halmstad University, POBox 823 301 18 Halmstad Sweden

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Bengt Fridlund School of Social & Health Sciences Halmstad University, POBox 823 301 18 Halmstad Sweden

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Sport participation or regular physical activity is often seen as a factor, which leads to better health and well being. Sport also has a social function, as most of the activities are performed together with other people. However, while club sports in Sweden have a stimulating effect on young men, there is a risk that they do not provide enough scope for young women. In particular, early specialization and a high level of seriousness do not suit all young sportswomen. The purpose of this study was to develop a theoretical understanding of the ways in which sport has influenced young women’s lifestyles in terms of their attitudes to physical activity in adult life. The data were collected using strategic interviews and analyzed using the grounded theory method. Based upon the results, young women’s physically active lifestyles varied depending on how they valued their sport in combination with how they handled their sport. Sport was regarded as having a positive effect on health and well being. This led to the young women studied intending to pursue a physically active lifestyle also in adult life. They enjoyed participating in sport, but not particularly sport with a high level of seriousness or a high level of vigor, which is what characterizes most club sports today.

Bengt Fridlund, UCN, BSc (educ), UDNE, PhD is a professor at School of Social & Health Sciences, Halmstad University, Halmstad, Sweden. He is also an associate professor in the departments of Nursing Science, Kuopio University, Kuopio, Finland and Primary Health Care, Gijteborg University, Goteborg, Sweden. Dr. Fridlund is a senior lecturer at the School of Social & Health Sciences, Halmstad University, Halmstad, Sweden and his research interest concerns social network/support and QoL issues related to health promotion and disease prevention programs.

Ulla Tebelius, PE teacher, AE teacher, BA (Ed.Sc), PhD. She is associate professor and head of the section of Educational Sciences at the School of Social & Health Sciences, University of Halmstad. She is in charge of a program on gender research at the Centre of Work Life Research and Development. She is heading a research project focused on Teenage Girl in Sport. Her main interest, however, is Adult learning and learning in working life.

Eva-Carin Lindgren, Sport pedagogue, BSc (educ), MSc (educ), doct candidate, is a junior lecturer and researcher at the School of Social & Health Sciences, Halmstad University, Halmstad, Sweden. She is heading a research project focused on young women in sport. Her research interest concerns your women and physical activity/exercise/sport related to health promotion programs.

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