Descriptive and narrative reports of barriers and motivators to physical activity in sedentary older adults

Matthew P. Buman, L. Daphna Yasova, Peter R. Giacobbi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

41 Scopus citations


Objectives: We sought a richer understanding of the determinants and complexities of physical activity (PA) behavior by examining how early life experiences and beliefs were manifested over time to determine PA behavior in late life. Method: We interviewed 23 inactive older adults regarding past and current attitudes and beliefs regarding PA in a two-study format. Study 1 participants responded to a semi-structured interview and data were analyzed inductively for emergent themes. Study 2 participants responded to an unstructured, narrative set of three interviews and data were analyzed using narrative analytical techniques. Results: Study 1 descriptively confirmed previously reported barriers and motivators and shed light on how experiences across the lifespan may affect current perceptions. Study 2 extended these findings by demonstrating how beliefs and experiences formed at a young age were manifested over time to determine current behaviors and attitudes. Conclusion: Implications include how the findings presented and the narrative method itself can be used to inform contemporary theoretical perspectives and promote PA behavior in older adults.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)223-230
Number of pages8
JournalPsychology of Sport and Exercise
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 2010
Externally publishedYes


  • Active aging
  • Behavior change
  • Meanings of exercise
  • Narrative analysis
  • Qualitative research
  • Semi-structured interview

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Applied Psychology


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