A Social-Ecological Analysis of Barriers to Sports and Physical Activity for Female University Students in China
Female university students’ participation rates in sports and physical activity have been low for decades in China. The purpose of this study is to identify the factors that impact female university students’ participation in sports and physical activities. This study is grounded in the theoretical underpinnings of a social-ecological model of influences on participation in sports and physical activity. The study was conducted in China and focuses on an identification of the factors that impact the participation rate of female university students aged 18 to 22. Questionnaires were distributed to 2000 female university students between the ages of 18 and 22 in 11 cities. The study yielded several interesting findings. First, female university students who infrequently participated in sports and physical activity primarily experienced strong intrapersonal barriers, whereas those who often engaged in sports and physical activity were more likely to encounter greater environmental barriers. Second, the factors examined using a social-ecological model that most affected female university students’ participation in sports and physical activity included personal physiological factors, participation and the support of people around them, site and natural environmental factors, and a lack of female sports facilities and exercise opportunities for women.