The Benefits and Barriers Related to Regular Participation in Physical Activity by African-American Women: Implications for Intervention Development


A common strategy for improving health behaviors is to emphasize the benefits and reduce the barriers to behavior change. This study investigated potential differences in perceived benefits and barriers related to participation in physical activity (PA) between women in pre-maintenance versus the maintenance phase of PA behavior to determine if perceived benefits were greater and perceived barriers lower in women with more extensive and successful PA participation experience. Data were collected from a community-based sample (N = 113) of middle-aged African-American women. The sample was stratified into two groups according to how long they had been regularly engaging in PA (6 months or longer versus less than 6 months). Chi-square analyses were conducted to investigate possible differences between the two groups of women in regard to perceived benefits and barriers associated with PA. Descriptive data showed that nearly all of the benefits and barriers to PA were perceived as being important for a majority of the participants and chi-square and t-test results indicated few significant between-group differences (p < .05) in regard to these perceptions. Additional analyses indicated there was no significant between-group difference (p < .05) for Body Mass Index. The results suggest the benefits and barriers related to PA behavior are already valued and understood by many African-American women. Further, the results do not support the commonly held belief that effective health behavior improvement programming should emphasize the benefits and reduce the barriers related to the behavior. Practitioners should consider focusing on other evidenced based factors proven to promote PA behavior such as counseling regarding social support (e.g., buddy system) and increasing self-efficacy (e.g., goal setting) to initiate and sustain a physically active lifestyle.

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Scott, M. , Oman, R. and John, R. (2015) The Benefits and Barriers Related to Regular Participation in Physical Activity by African-American Women: Implications for Intervention Development. Open Journal of Preventive Medicine, 5, 169-176. doi: 10.4236/ojpm.2015.54020.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


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