A Mixed-Methods Study of Women’s Empowerment through Physical Activities: Relationships with Self-Efficacy and Physical Activity Levels
2. Materials and Methods
2.1. Study Design and Participants
2.2. Survey Procedures
2.3. Survey Measurements
2.3.1. Weight and Height
2.3.2. Body Mass Index (BMI)
2.3.3. Godin–Shephard Leisure-Time Physical Activity Questionnaire (GSLTPAQ)
2.3.4. Self-Efficacy for Exercise Questionnaire
2.3.5. Open-Ended Empowerment Ranking Question
According to Oxford Languages, the definition of empowerment is “the process of becoming stronger and more confident, especially in controlling one’s life and claiming one’s rights”.
List up to five leisure-time physical activities in which you participate(d). Rank these activities based on the level of empowerment you experience(d) by dragging and dropping them into the corresponding order: 1 being the most empowering activity and 5 being the least empowering activity. Examples of leisure-time physical activities include but are not limited to running, playing basketball, taking fitness classes, riding a bike, and lifting weights.
2.4. Individual Interview Procedures
- Leisure-time physical activities are not essential activities of daily living (work, transportation) and include sports, exercise, and recreational walking. Tell me about your current involvement in leisure-time physical activity.
- Explain why you engage in that type or those types of physical activity.
- Do you prefer to participate in physical activity alone or with other people?
- Please tell me how participating in physical activity makes you feel.
- How does your participation in physical activity affect the rest of your day?
- What keeps you motivated to participate in physical activity?
- According to Perkins and Zimmerman , “Empowerment at the individual level is defined as a process by which individuals (1) perceive and gain control over personal issues, (2) understand their environment critically, and (3) take actions to influence the issues in their lives or communities”.
- What do you think about this statement?
- Explain whether or not PA is empowering for you.
- What type of PA is most empowering for you?
- How does physical activity enjoyment relate to empowerment?
2.5. Statistical Analysis
2.6. Qualitative Analysis
3.1. Survey Findings
Open-Ended Empowerment Question Analysis
3.2. Individual Interview Findings
3.2.1. Many Barriers to Women’s Participation in Physical Activity Are Gender-Centric
I’m a female, so a lot of times I felt [they] just stare[d] at me, or I’ve had people come up to me and go, “You’re not doing the right technique to lift weights.” And I’m like, “I’ve been lifting weights since I was 14. I know what I’m doing.”
They reviewed footage and were like, “Yeah, he’s definitely following you. Like, we believe you.” So, that’s why I get so afraid when someone stares at me. I’m like, “I don’t like you staring at me because I’ve had [a] previous experience that was bad.” And so, I’m just like, please don’t stare at me. Please don’t. Don’t even come to me, don’t talk to me.
3.2.2. The Benefits of Physical Activity Participation Extend beyond Physical Health
I struggled with body image issues when I was younger because probably because I wasn’t doing anything for myself. Like I was doing things like playing volleyball. That was for fun and not for my body[’s] health, but now that I participate in things that are good for my health and good for my body, I view my body in a more positive way.
3.2.3. Some Types of Physical Activity Are More Empowering Than Others
After I do a strength training workout or something like that, and I feel, like, super strong, and like, I don’t know, I feel like I could really do just about anything after I finish that. And that makes me feel, like, very empowered.
I think like walking or stuff like that is enjoyable, and like, it’s fun to do with someone, but I don’t get done with that, and I’m like, “Man, I just accomplished so much,” and like, I’m not super empowered by that type of activity.
3.2.4. Empowerment and Enjoyment Are Closely Related
Being physically active gives me time to, like, recognize things I want to, like, change about myself or, like, my environment. It’s like a place for the growth for me basically, and it allows me to like think deeply on those ‘cause that’s like my thinking time. I’m walking, and I’m like, hmm, I gotta do this, and I want to do this, so I think it gives me time just to do a lot of, like, thinking about different things going on my life and how to handle those.
I think the community aspect was really important to the gym I belonged in, and that definitely made me more comfortable working out. And now when I’m around certain people, I feel like there is a community in the gym, and sometimes people don’t really talk to each other, but today a lot of people were, like, talking and communicating, and I was like, this is weird, but it was kind of nice because everyone was, like, sharing equipment.
4.1. Overall Discussion
4.2. Suggestions for Practice
4.3. Strengths and Limitations
Institutional Review Board Statement
Informed Consent Statement
Data Availability Statement
Conflicts of Interest
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|Variable||M ± (SD)||N (%)|
|Height (in)||65.5 ± (2.7)|
|Weight (lbs.)||156.2 ± (35.7)|
|Body Mass Index (kg/m2)||25.1 ± (6.6)|
|Underweight (<18.5 kg/m2)||3 (2.0)|
|Normal Weight (18.5–24.9 kg/m2)||77 (53.5)|
|Overweight (25–29.9 kg/m2)||38 (26.4)|
|Obese (≥30 kg/m2)||26 (18.1)|
|Total Physical Activity||53.5 ± (27.2)|
|Moderate-to-Vigorous Physical Activity||40.1 ± (23.9)|
|Self-Efficacy for Exercise||50.7 ± (19.6)|
|Variable||Cardiorespiratory Training-Empowered |
(n = 81)
(n = 57)
|Neuromotor Training-Empowered |
(n = 3)
(n = 3)
|Other Activity-Empowered |
(n = 3)
|BMI||25.2 ± (7.2)||24.7 ± (6.0)||24.9 ± (2.1)||26.5 ± (1.3)||29.0 ± (9.3)|
|Total Physical |
|51.7 ± (27.0)||59.2 ± (25.9)||53.3 ± (31.9)||24.7 ± (16.2)||14.3 ± (9.2)|
|37.9 ± (25.4)||45.5 ± (21.3)||49.3 ± (31.3)||17.7 ± (15.5)||8.3± (14.4)|
|Self-Efficacy for Exercise||48.5 ± (20.7)||54.8 ± (18.2)||52.7± (7.6)||33.7 ± (8.0)||48.7 ± (18.1)|
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Streetman, A.E.; Lister, M.M.; Brown, A.; Brin, H.N.; Heinrich, K.M. A Mixed-Methods Study of Women’s Empowerment through Physical Activities: Relationships with Self-Efficacy and Physical Activity Levels. J. Funct. Morphol. Kinesiol. 2023, 8, 118. https://doi.org/10.3390/jfmk8030118
Streetman AE, Lister MM, Brown A, Brin HN, Heinrich KM. A Mixed-Methods Study of Women’s Empowerment through Physical Activities: Relationships with Self-Efficacy and Physical Activity Levels. Journal of Functional Morphology and Kinesiology. 2023; 8(3):118. https://doi.org/10.3390/jfmk8030118Chicago/Turabian Style
Streetman, Aspen E., Madiera M. Lister, Averie Brown, Halle N. Brin, and Katie M. Heinrich. 2023. "A Mixed-Methods Study of Women’s Empowerment through Physical Activities: Relationships with Self-Efficacy and Physical Activity Levels" Journal of Functional Morphology and Kinesiology 8, no. 3: 118. https://doi.org/10.3390/jfmk8030118