Perceptions of Barriers Distinguish Young College Students Who Have Higher or Lower Physical Activity Levels

  • John-Christopher Finley Towson University


Limited research has simultaneously examined the perceived and actual circumstances and characteristics that influence young college students’ level of physical activity (PA). The current study investigated whether young college students with Health Enhancing (HE) or Minimally Active (MA) levels of PA had different levels of grit (a quality that helps one to succeed at a goal despite set-backs), self-control, and perceived barriers to engaging in PA. A sample of 46 freshmen and sophomores in college completed self-rated versions of a demographic questionnaire, the Short Grit Scale, Barriers to Being Active Questionnaire, International Physical Activity Questionnaire, and Self-Control Scale. Results suggest that participants in the HE group engaged in more vigorous, moderate, and walking PA. The two groups significantly differed in their perception of barriers to engagement in PA, with the MA group reporting greater obstacles than the HE group. Specifically, the two groups differed in their perceived barriers related to time, injury, social influences, willpower, and resources. No differences were found between the groups’ level of grit and self-control. Based on these findings, intervention strategies may be modified according to students’ levels of PA and what they perceive as barriers to engaging in PA.

Keywords:  barriers, characteristics, college students, physical activity

Author Biography

John-Christopher Finley, Towson University

Towson University, M.A., Expected

Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania, B.A., Completed


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