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“Just More Comfortable in the Gym”: An Exploration of the Constraints That Contribute to Adult African American Females’ Lack of Participation in Outdoor Recreation Activities

Catherine E. Dorwart, Sonya Smith Cornelous, Anthony F. Patterson


Despite a growing focus on constraints to leisure participation among African Americans, a gap in the research remains when it comes to understanding the lived experiences of African American women and their outdoor recreation participation. This study explored African American women’s constraints to leisure participation in outdoor recreation activities to better understand what guided their recreation choices. Data were collected from semistructured interview questions administered to 10 African American women who regularly engage in physical activity. The constant comparison method was used for data analysis. From the data analysis, five major themes emerged: (a) The Fit Factor, (b) Need for Companionship, (c) Identity in Outdoor Recreation, (d) The Fear Factor, and (e) Convenience Factor. The results supported that personal fears, lack of support or companionship, lack of childhood exposure, and the convenience of an activity influenced adult African American women’s outdoor recreation choices and participation.

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leisure constraints model; barriers to participation; recreation; African American women; qualitative research

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