Pickard, L and Rodriguez, Alison (2014) The influence of physical activity on the life world of its participants: Escapism and identity. In: The International Sport and Society Conference, 16-17 July, 2014, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. (Unpublished)

The research aims were to explore the powerful experiences related to any perceived PA in a participant’s lifeworld. In the analysis a more general exploration of PA and its importance in the participant’s lifeworld was undertaken. 8 participants were recruited through opportunity sampling for the study. They shared a number of demographic traits; they were all Caucasian and self acclaimed working to middle class from towns and cities in the county of West Yorkshire. The participants were aged between 19 and 49, all have an affinity for sport and exercise and all participate regularly. Semi structured interviews were conducted and analysed using Interpretive Phenomenological Analysis (Smith, 1996) to explore in detail the participants viewpoint and experiences of PA. A full analysis was conducted; selected sub themes were examined and discussed in further detail. The two sub themes selected best illuminate the reported experience of physical activity for the reader. The sub themes were ‘The importance of PA on participant’s identity’ and ‘PA as escapism and social world construction’. Discussion includes identity creation, psychological resilience, early experiences and motivation. Implications for theory, research, practice and policy are discussed.

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