Masters Theses

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science



Major Professor

Lyndsey M. Hornbuckle-Lampkin

Committee Members

Lyndsey Hornbuckle-Lampkin, Cristina Barroso, Eugene Fitzhugh


African American (AA) women have a disproportionately higher prevalence of obesity and physical inactivity compared to their gender and racial counterparts. Young AA women experience the largest increases in weight gain between 20-30 years of age, yet are underrepresented in current literature surrounding leisure-time physical activity (LTPA) promotion. Examining young AA women who successfully maintain LTPA participation may provide insight into their methods for doing so. The purpose of this study was to explore strategies used by active young AA women that support their LTPA maintenance, and identify various characteristics of these women.

A multimethod approach (qualitative and quantitative) was used with a primary focus on qualitative methods. AA women ages 20-34 years who had met national guidelines for either aerobic or muscle-strengthening LTPA for at least six months were recruited. Participants completed questionnaires/surveys, then engaged in a semi-structured interview inquiring about their LTPA history, preferences, motivators/enablers, barriers, and strategies to overcome barriers. Ten women completed the study. Eighty percent met national PA recommendations for both aerobic (2578.0±1228.5 MET-minutes/week) and muscle-strengthening LTPA (4.0±1.9 days/week). Participants had high self-efficacy for LTPA (1414.5±64.4 of 1800) and high levels of commitment to LTPA (49.6±2.9 out of 55). These women also showed success in utilizing processes to assist their LTPA maintenance including committing oneself (4.7±0.4 of 5), substituting alternatives (4.7±0.4 of 5), increasing knowledge (4.5±0.4 of 5), and comprehending benefits (4.5±0.7 of 5). Four themes emerged from the interviews: (1) Factors Contributing to LTPA Participation, (2) Characteristics of Current LTPA, (3) Initiating LTPA Participation, and (4) Maintaining LTPA Participation. Having an in-person and virtual fitness network (via social media), and planned strategies to overcome barriers were among multiple strategies that assisted this sample with maintaining regular LTPA. Participants also identified muscle-strengthening activities as their preferred type of LTPA.

The strategies used to maintain regular LTPA participation in this sample of active young AA women may be helpful to support other young AA women trying to initiate and/or maintain long-term LTPA participation. These results may also help inform future LTPA interventions in young AA women in an effort to prevent health and physical activity disparities.

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