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An Exploration of the Barriers and Motivators to Outdoor Active Play for Young People Aged 11-12: Why Don’t They Play Anymore?

Fletcher, Raul (2021) An Exploration of the Barriers and Motivators to Outdoor Active Play for Young People Aged 11-12: Why Don’t They Play Anymore? Masters thesis, University of Huddersfield.

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Abstract

Introduction: Regular engagement in physical activity has numerous health-related benefits for children and young people, yet many do not meet the recommended levels of physical activity set by The Chief Medical Officer. Outdoor active play, a form of unstructured physical activity, contributes towards children and young people’s physical activity levels more than any other pastime/activity. Despite this, outdoor active play levels decline when children transition from year six (aged 10-11 years) to year seven (aged 11-12 years). Therefore, this study aims to understand why young people engaged in outdoor active play and what barriers they faced. There is little research that explores outdoor active play for young people aged 11-12 years living in the UK. Thus, the present study will address the gaps in research and contribute to existing knowledge.

Methods: An explanatory sequential mixed method design was adopted and comprised of a two-phase approach: collecting and analysing quantitative data followed by the collection and analysis of the qualitative data. Phase one adopted a quantitative approach – self-reported questionnaires were used to quantify outdoor active play rates of a sample of 208 young people aged 11-12 years. The purpose of phase one was to identify young people with high and low play rates. Phase two adopted a qualitative approach – four focus were conducted with, five boys with high play rates, five girls with high play rates, five boys with low play rates, and five girls with low play rates. The purpose of phase two was to identify and explore the barriers and motivators to outdoor active play. All focus groups were audiotaped and transcribed verbatim. The transcripts were analysed using content analysis.

Findings: The questionnaires revealed that 170 young people reported that they engaged in outdoor active play, of those 170, 36 young people were categorised as having high play rates and 31 young people were categorised as having low play rates. The focus groups revealed that having homework to complete was the most prominent barrier for boys. Whereas, the most frequently cited barrier by girls was the presence of strangers in preferred play spaces. Additionally, the most prominent barrier to outdoor active play for young people with high play rates was being too busy learning other skills such as football or dance. Whereas, the most frequently reported barrier for young people with low play was having location rules such as, only being allowed to play in their garden which was implemented by parents. In this study, boys often spoke of being motivated to engage in outdoor active play because it was fun and enjoyable. Whereas, girls spoke of being motivated to engage in outdoor active play as it provided an opportunity to socialise with friends. Additionally, young people with high play rates were motivated to engage in outdoor active play for the health-related benefits. Whereas, young people with low play rates spoke of being motivated to engage in outdoor active play because it was fun and enjoyable. Conversely, the weather was cited as a barrier and a motivator to outdoor active play by young people in this study.

Conclusion: The findings of this study provide an insight into the barriers and motivators to outdoor active play for young people aged 11-12 years. And show that the barriers and motivators differ between gender and play rates. The study is unique for its direct involvement with young people aged 11-12 years (year seven) and its comparison of the barriers and motivators between boys and girls and young people with high and low play rates. However, the researcher was a limitation in this study as a lack of experience in data collection and data analysis may have affected the validity of the findings. Future research is needed to clarify what girls perceive as a safe place space and what steps can be taken to make outdoor active play safer for those who participate. Furthermore, future research which is conducted with parents of young people is needed to explore how parental safety concerns can be eased to increase young people’s outdoor active play levels.

Item Type: Thesis (Masters)
Uncontrolled Keywords: Outdoor active play, barriers, motivators, gender, young people
Subjects: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GV Recreation Leisure
H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
Schools: School of Human and Health Sciences
Depositing User: Christine Morelli
Date Deposited: 06 Apr 2021 12:46
Last Modified: 06 Apr 2021 12:46
URI: http://eprints.hud.ac.uk/id/eprint/35483

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