Structured physical activity and psychosocial correlates in middle-school girls

Daheia J. Barr-Anderson, Deborah R. Young, James F. Sallis, Dianne R. Neumark-Sztainer, Joel Gittelsohn, Larry Webber, Ruth Saunders, Stuart Cohen, Jared B. Jobe

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

101 Scopus citations


Objective.: Little is known about the types of physical activity (PA) in which adolescent girls participate. Understanding this, along with examining specific psychosocial correlates of PA, may help guide the development of effective interventions to prevent the decline in PA in female youth. Methods.: 2791 sixth grade girls participating in the Trial of Activity for Adolescent Girls from six geographical locations completed surveys assessing participation in sports teams and activity classes/lessons in and out of school, self-efficacy for PA, PA enjoyment, physical education (PE) enjoyment, and perceived school climate for girls' PA (data collection: January-May 2003). Correlates of girls' participation in structured PA and sociodemographic differences were explored. Results.: 89.5% of girls participated in structured PA: 39% at school and 86% outside of school. Across race/ethnicity, most reported activities were basketball (44%), cheerleading/dance (41%), and swimming (39%). Controlling for socioeconomic status, geographical location, and race/ethnicity, girls with a higher self-efficacy (OR = 3.44, CI = 1.72-6.92) and higher enjoyment of PE class (OR = 1.97, CI = 1.25-3.120) were more likely to participate in structured PA. PA enjoyment and perceived school climate for girls' PA were not associated with participation in structured PA. Conclusion.: Interventions that increase self-efficacy and enjoyment of PE could result in greater participation in structured PA and higher overall PA levels among adolescent girls.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)404-409
Number of pages6
JournalPreventive medicine
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2007

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This research was funded by grants from the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (U01HL066858, U01HL066857, U01HL066845, U01HL066856, U01HL066855, U01HL066853, and U01HL066852).


  • Enjoyment of physical education
  • Female adolescents
  • Physical activity enjoyment
  • Race/ethnicity
  • School climate
  • Self-efficacy


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