Perceived Barriers to Walking for Physical Activity
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Perceived Barriers to Walking for Physical Activity

Filetype[PDF-353.60 KB]

  • English

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    • Alternative Title:
      Prev Chronic Dis
    • Description:

      Although the health benefits of walking for physical activity have received increasing research attention, barriers specific to walking are not well understood. In this study, questions to measure barriers to walking for physical activity were developed and tested among college students. The factor structure, test–retest and internal consistency reliability, and discriminant and criterion validity of the perceived barriers were evaluated.


      A total of 305 undergraduate students participated. Participants had a mean age (± SD) of 20.6 (± 3.02) years, and 70.3% were female. Participants responded to a questionnaire assessing barriers specific to walking for physical activity. Perceived barriers to vigorous exercise, walking for transportation and recreation, and participation in lifestyle activities (such as taking the stairs instead of the elevator) were also assessed. Subsamples completed the walking barriers instrument a second time after 5 days in order to determine test–retest reliability (n = 104) and wore an accelerometer to measure moderate-intensity physical activity (n = 85).


      Factor analyses confirmed the existence of three factors underlying the perceived barriers to walking questions: appearance (four items), footwear (three items), and situation (three items). Appearance and situational barriers demonstrated acceptable reliability, discriminant validity, and relations with physical activity criteria. After we controlled for barriers to vigorous exercise, appearance and situational barriers to walking explained additional variation in objectively-measured moderate physical activity.


      The prediction of walking for physical activity, especially walking that is unstructured and spontaneous, may be improved by considering appearance and situational barriers. Assessing barriers specific to walking may have important implications for interventions targeting walking as means for engaging in physical activity.

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