Perceived Barriers to Leisure-Time Physical Activity in Adults: An Ecological Perspective

in Journal of Physical Activity and Health
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Perceived barriers are modifiable correlates of participation in physical activity. Associations of specific perceived barriers with participation in and level of walking for recreation, and other leisure-time physical activity (LTPA) were examined. Personal, social, and environmental factors associated with these perceived barriers were then examined.


From 2003 to 2004, 2 surveys collected data on recreational walking and other LTPA, perceived barriers to participation, and personal, social, and environmental attributes, from 2194 Australian adults. Zero-inflated negative binomial regression models examined associations of perceived barriers with walking and other LTPA. Generalized linear models identified the correlates of these perceived barriers.


The perceived barriers of lack of motivation and time were associated with level of LTPA, while lack of motivation, poor health, and lack of facilities were associated with the odds of non-participation in LTPA. Personal, social, and environmental factors independently contributed to variations in perceived barriers.


Level and likelihood of participation in LTPA are associated with different perceived barriers. Perceived barriers are a function of both nonmodifiable personal factors and potentially modifiable personal, social, and environmental factors. These findings suggest that the provision of relevant environmental opportunities and social support may effectively reduce perceived barriers to LTPA.

Cerin is with the Children’s Nutrition Research Center, Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, TX. Leslie is with the School of Psychology, Deakin University, Geelong, Australia. Sugiyama is with the Cancer Prevention Research Centre, The University of Queensland, Brisbane, Australia. Owen is with the Dept of Population Health, The University of Queensland, Brisbane, Australia.