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Understanding influences on physical activity participation by older adults: a qualitative study of community-dwelling older adults from the Hertfordshire Cohort Study, UK.

Understanding influences on physical activity participation by older adults: a qualitative study of community-dwelling older adults from the Hertfordshire Cohort Study, UK.
Understanding influences on physical activity participation by older adults: a qualitative study of community-dwelling older adults from the Hertfordshire Cohort Study, UK.
Background: the health benefits of physical activity (PA) participation in later life are widely recognised. Understanding factors that can influence the participation of community-dwelling older adults in PA is crucial in an ageing society. This will be paramount in aiding the design of future interventions to effectively promote PA in this population. The main aim of this qualitative study was to explore influences on PA among community-dwelling older people, and the secondary aim was to explore gender differences.

Methods: qualitative data were collected in 2014 by conducting focus group discussions using a semi-structured discussion guide with older people resident in Hertfordshire, UK. Discussions were audio-recorded, transcribed verbatim and transcripts analysed thematically.

Results: ninety-two participants were recruited to the study (47% women; 74–83 years) and a total of 11 focus groups were conducted. Findings indicated six themes that appeared to affect older adults’ participation in PA: past life experiences; significant life events; getting older; PA environment; psychological/personal factors; and social capital. Overall, the findings emphasised the role of modifiable factors, namely psychological factors (such as self-efficacy, motivation, outcome expectancy) and social factors (such as social support and social engagement). These factors exerted their own influence on physical activity participation, but also appeared to mediate the effect of other largely non-modifiable background and ageing-related factors on participants’ engagement with PA in later life.

Conclusion: in view of these findings, intervention designers could usefully work with behavioural scientists for insight as to how to enhance psychological and social factors in older adults. Our data suggest that interventions that aim to build self-efficacy, motivation and social networks have the potential to indirectly promote PA participation in older adults. This would be best achieved by developing physical activity interventions through working with participants in an empowering and engaging way.
1932-6203
Zhang, Jean
437abe90-46ac-46de-8183-042c36ed3398
Bloom, Ilse
af2a38ab-3255-414d-afa1-e3089ee45e3f
Dennison, Elaine
ee647287-edb4-4392-8361-e59fd505b1d1
Ward, Kate
39bd4db1-c948-4e32-930e-7bec8deb54c7
Robinson, Sian M
ba591c98-4380-456a-be8a-c452f992b69b
Barker, Mary
374310ad-d308-44af-b6da-515bf5d2d6d2
Cooper, Cyrus
e05f5612-b493-4273-9b71-9e0ce32bdad6
Lawrence, Wendy
e9babc0a-02c9-41df-a289-7b18f17bf7d8
Zhang, Jean
437abe90-46ac-46de-8183-042c36ed3398
Bloom, Ilse
af2a38ab-3255-414d-afa1-e3089ee45e3f
Dennison, Elaine
ee647287-edb4-4392-8361-e59fd505b1d1
Ward, Kate
39bd4db1-c948-4e32-930e-7bec8deb54c7
Robinson, Sian M
ba591c98-4380-456a-be8a-c452f992b69b
Barker, Mary
374310ad-d308-44af-b6da-515bf5d2d6d2
Cooper, Cyrus
e05f5612-b493-4273-9b71-9e0ce32bdad6
Lawrence, Wendy
e9babc0a-02c9-41df-a289-7b18f17bf7d8

Zhang, Jean, Bloom, Ilse, Dennison, Elaine, Ward, Kate, Robinson, Sian M, Barker, Mary, Cooper, Cyrus and Lawrence, Wendy (2022) Understanding influences on physical activity participation by older adults: a qualitative study of community-dwelling older adults from the Hertfordshire Cohort Study, UK. PLoS ONE, 17 (1 1), [e0263050]. (doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0263050).

Record type: Article

Abstract

Background: the health benefits of physical activity (PA) participation in later life are widely recognised. Understanding factors that can influence the participation of community-dwelling older adults in PA is crucial in an ageing society. This will be paramount in aiding the design of future interventions to effectively promote PA in this population. The main aim of this qualitative study was to explore influences on PA among community-dwelling older people, and the secondary aim was to explore gender differences.

Methods: qualitative data were collected in 2014 by conducting focus group discussions using a semi-structured discussion guide with older people resident in Hertfordshire, UK. Discussions were audio-recorded, transcribed verbatim and transcripts analysed thematically.

Results: ninety-two participants were recruited to the study (47% women; 74–83 years) and a total of 11 focus groups were conducted. Findings indicated six themes that appeared to affect older adults’ participation in PA: past life experiences; significant life events; getting older; PA environment; psychological/personal factors; and social capital. Overall, the findings emphasised the role of modifiable factors, namely psychological factors (such as self-efficacy, motivation, outcome expectancy) and social factors (such as social support and social engagement). These factors exerted their own influence on physical activity participation, but also appeared to mediate the effect of other largely non-modifiable background and ageing-related factors on participants’ engagement with PA in later life.

Conclusion: in view of these findings, intervention designers could usefully work with behavioural scientists for insight as to how to enhance psychological and social factors in older adults. Our data suggest that interventions that aim to build self-efficacy, motivation and social networks have the potential to indirectly promote PA participation in older adults. This would be best achieved by developing physical activity interventions through working with participants in an empowering and engaging way.

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Accepted/In Press date: 12 January 2022
Published date: 25 January 2022
Additional Information: Publisher Copyright: © 2022 Zhang et al. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 454738
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/454738
ISSN: 1932-6203
PURE UUID: c4289f38-00c5-4cd6-ad82-d37684460046
ORCID for Ilse Bloom: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0002-4893-1790
ORCID for Elaine Dennison: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0002-3048-4961
ORCID for Kate Ward: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0001-7034-6750
ORCID for Sian M Robinson: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0003-1766-7269
ORCID for Mary Barker: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0003-2976-0217
ORCID for Cyrus Cooper: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0003-3510-0709
ORCID for Wendy Lawrence: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0003-1264-0438

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Date deposited: 22 Feb 2022 17:38
Last modified: 20 Jan 2024 02:53

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Contributors

Author: Jean Zhang
Author: Ilse Bloom ORCID iD
Author: Elaine Dennison ORCID iD
Author: Kate Ward ORCID iD
Author: Sian M Robinson ORCID iD
Author: Mary Barker ORCID iD
Author: Cyrus Cooper ORCID iD
Author: Wendy Lawrence ORCID iD

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