Trajectories of Participation in Movement Activities: Promoting Positive Patterns.
Abstract: Physical activity is important for both physical and psychological
health and well-being across the life span. However, little is known about how experiences
and participation patterns in physical activity during youth and adolescence may be related
to experiences and participation in young adulthood. To address this gap, this dissertation
presents a developmental model of experiences ... read morein sport and other movement activities, using
this theory to frame a longitudinal mixed-method study of participation patterns and
experiences in movement activities across adolescence and into young adulthood.
Quantitative data (derived from the 4-H Study of Positive Youth Development) and
qualitative interviews (conducted with participants selected based on the quantitative
analyses) were used to examine longitudinal patterns of participation in athletic contexts
and the lived experiences of individuals exhibiting different patterns of engagement.
Quantitative findings suggested that adolescent patterns of movement activity participation
were associated with both concurrent and young adult outcomes, such that youth with higher
rates of involvement tended to show more positive outcomes (e.g., higher levels of positive
youth development, lower levels of depressive symptoms, higher rates of young adult
participation) than youth with little or no participation in movement activities.
Qualitative findings revealed that individuals who maintained high levels of participation
into young adulthood enjoyed the challenges, friendships, and accomplishments that these
activities provided to them. Individuals who decreased their participation in young
adulthood appreciated the health benefits of participation and enjoyed their
accomplishments, but felt less skilled in athletic contexts than their peers. The
implications of this work for future research and application are discussed in light of the
importance of a person-centered approach to the promotion of healthy, active lifestyles. In
particular, the findings of this study suggest that attention to the fit between the
individual participant and the movement context is fundamental to enabling positive
movement experiences and continued participation to occur. Thus, identifying and creating
opportunities for young people to explore and to find the types of activities they most
enjoy is key for the development of active lifestyle trajectories.
Thesis (Ph.D.)--Tufts University, 2015.
Submitted to the Dept. of Child Development.
Advisor: Richard Lerner.
Committee: Sasha Fleary, Nicholas Holt, and Daniel Gould.
Keyword: Developmental psychology.read less