Barrier-beliefs about physical activity in active and inactive adults: an explorative study

Adrie Bouma

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Objectives: Perceived barriers are often a reason why people do not start physical activity or relapse to inactivity. From a psychological perspective, barriers can be seen as beliefs about what is obstructing people’s behavior. To understand inactivity and relapse from physical activity, this study focused on barrier-beliefs in physical activity. We aimed to develop a barrier-beliefs survey and identify barrier-beliefs in physical activity among active and inactive people. Methods: Firstly, in order to develop a barrier-beliefs survey, a literature search, a qualitative study and expert-meetings were conducted to explore barrier-beliefs to physical activity. The intern consistency of barrier-belief survey was analysed using a Cronbach’s Alpha. A Pearson correlation (p < .05) was conducted to analyse the relation between barrier-belief scales and behavioral factors and strength of the barrier-belief scales were analysed as predictors of behavioral factors with a multiple linear regression analyses. Secondly, a cross sectional study was conducted among active and inactive people using the barrier-beliefs survey. Results: Sixty-three barrier-beliefs were found clustered by 10 barrier-belief scales and formulated in the survey. The intern consistency was relatively high and BB scales were related to behavioral determinants and PA behavior. A sample of 266 participants, 147 active and 119 inactive, aged 18 to 80, participated. Frequently endorsed barrier-beliefs within both active and inactive participants were ‘investment factors’, ‘habitual situations’ and ‘negative feelings about the new behavior’. A clear difference between inactives and actives is proven  in the relation between BBs and their PA behaviour. Inactives are significantly inhibited by ‘social situations’, ‘investment factors’, ‘negative feelings of the new behavior’ and ‘identity discrepancy’.Conclusions: To increase the chance on long lasting lifestyle changes and the effectiveness of interventions, strategies to neutralize barrier-beliefs should be developed in order to apply into counseling- and educational programs or internet applications.
Original languageEnglish
JournalAmerican Journal of Lifestyle Medicine
Publication statusSubmitted - 2018


  • physical activity
  • lifestyles


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