Photostory: Barriers and Facilitators to Adolescent Physical Activity

Thursday, 15 July 2010: 11:10 AM

Mary Ann Thurkettle, PhD, RN
School of Nursing, Slippery Rock University, Slippery Rock, PA

Learning Objective 1: The learner will be able to identify four thematic areas of barriers and facilitators to physical activity for urban adolescents.

Learning Objective 2: The learner will be able to discuss specific facilitators and specific barriers to physical activity for urban adolescents.

Purpose: This study was preliminary to a health services research project to transfer research advances to community use.  The purpose was to contribute to knowledge about barriers and facilitators from the youth perspective.  Research questions were: 1) What are perceived barriers to engaging in physical activity? 2) What are perceived facilitators to engaging in physical activity? 3) What are teen perceptions of physical activity in their daily life?

Methods: This study used a photovoice technique combined with group dialog and interpretive inquiry analytic techniques. Interview probes were used to elicit information about the pictures and picture categories.  These included:  “Tell me about this picture”; “What does this group of six pictures say about (barriers, facilitators, your physical activity).”  “As a whole, what does the entire set of pictures you took say, what is the meaning of this whole set?”   Contextual questions were asked depending on the responses.  For instance, “What was happening when this was taken.” A sample of ten adolescents age 12-17 recruited through an urban after-school program. At Session 1 participants were given a 24 exposure disposable camera to take, over a two week period, 8 pictures for each of the three categories: barriers, facilitators, and physical activity.  At Session 2 participants met individually to discuss their pictures.  At Session 3, participants met to view and discuss all pictures, what we learned from them, and to validate the final outcomes. 

Results: Data were analyzed at raw data, descriptive and interpretation levels. Four major themes emerged: instruments, people, environment, and safety.  Facilitators and barriers were present in each major theme area. Barriers were primarily satiation and interpersonal or environmental safety issues.

Conclusion:  Findings enrich understanding of factors related to physical activity behavior change and provide information for future research on the effectiveness of community level adolescent intervention programs.