Understanding Physical Activity through the Experiences of Adolescent Girls

in Women in Sport and Physical Activity Journal
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Researchers have found that female youths are particularly vulnerable to withdrawing from sport and physical activity programs in early adolescence (see Active Healthy Kids Canada, 2010). However, there is an absence of a comprehensive, emic description of how female adolescents experience physical activity. Open-ended, semi-structured interviews were conducted individually with 15 early adolescent females (12–14 years old) and 20 middle and late adolescent females (15–18years old). Co-participants in the mid to late adolescent cohort provided retrospective accounts of their early adolescent experiences along with insight on how their experiences shaped their current participation. The girls’ voices were brought to the forefront through composite vignettes that highlight their physical activity experiences, integrating the words used by the co-participants. Results are discussed in relation to physical activity programming for adolescent females and why a qualitative approach is useful in contributing to gender-specific physical activity programming.

Robert J. Schinke, EdD, CSPA, CRC School of Kinetics 935 Ramsey Lake Rd. Laurentian University Sudbury, Ontario, Canada P3E 2C6 E-mail: rschinke@laurentian.ca Phone: (705) 657-1151 ext. 1045