Adolescents' perceived barriers to physical activity: Associations with current and future physical activity


Due to high levels of physical inactivity during adolescence, it is essential to identify factors inhibiting adolescents' physical activity (PA) participation. While perceived PA barriers have been found to inhibit PA in previous research, an unresolved issue is whether specific types of PA barriers (i.e., internal, external) or PA barriers globally (i.e., a composite score of internal and external) better explain variations in adolescents' PA participation. Thus, we used a bi-factor model to examine whether internal and external PA barriers were uniquely associated with PA concurrently and 4 months later beyond global PA barriers. Adolescents (N=615; 12-15 years) participating in the MATCH study completed self-report questionnaires the Fall (T1) and Winter (T2) of 2014. Results from a bi-factor structural model indicated that the data were a good fit to the model (?2(107)=203.33, p<.05, CFI=.99, RMSEA=.04, 90%CI[0.03, 0.05], R2=.37). Controlling for age and sex, internal barriers (ß=-.30, p<.05) were negatively related to concurrent PA, over and above global barriers (ß =-.25, p<.05). PA at T1 was positively related to PA at T2 (ß=.57, p<.05). Bootstrapping procedures testing indirect associations revealed that internal (ß=-.31, 95%BcCI=-.53, -0.14) and global barriers (ß=-.26, 95%BcCI=-0.39, -0.12) were negatively related to PA at T2 indirectly through PA at T1. Findings suggest specific types and global barriers uniquely explained variance in adolescents' PA participation. Thus, specific types of PA barriers (i.e., internal, external) are important to consider alongside global PA barriers in interventions and future research.

Acknowledgments: The MATCH study is supported by the New Brunswick Health Research Foundation (#20130729) and by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council and Sport Canada through the joint Sport Participation Research Initiative (#862-2010-0001).