Exploring the reasons why adolescents participate in physical activity and identifying strategies that facilitate their involvement in such activity


  • Asha Ketteridge,

    1. Independent Living Equipment Program, Disability SA, Independent Living Centre, Gillies Plains, South Australia, and
    Search for more papers by this author
  • Kobie Boshoff

    1. Occupational Therapy Program, School of Health Sciences, City East Campus, University of South Australia, North Terrace, Adelaide, South Australia, Australia
    Search for more papers by this author

  • Asha Ketteridge BAppSc(OT)(Hons); Occupational Therapist. Kobie Boshoff PhD; Supervisor and Lecturer.

Asha Ketteridge, Unit 2, 7 Laurel Avenue, Linden Park, SA 5065, Australia. Email: asha.ketteridge@internode.on.net


Background: Prompted by the dramatic rise in obesity and the decline in physical activity of adolescents aged 11–15 years, this study explored, from the participants’ viewpoints, the influences contributing to the engagement of adolescents in physical activities and the strategies facilitating their participation in physical activities.

Methods: An interpretive qualitative methodology was used involving 13 adolescents in three separate activity-based focus groups.

Results: The findings describe the personal abilities of the participants and the health benefits, psychological, emotional and environmental factors influencing participation in physical activity. Findings endorse the use of supportive, enjoyable and skill-appropriate approaches to physical activity intervention.

Conclusions: Implications for occupational therapy include promoting physical activities as aspects of occupations to improve the health and well-being of adolescents through engagement in such activities.