What psychosocial factors determine the physical activity patterns of university students?

Joseph J. Murphy, Ciaran MacDonncha, Marie H. Murphy, Niamh Murphy, Alan M. Nevill, Catherine B. Woods

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Background: Although levels of physical activity (PA) have been researched, no information on how university students organize their PA across different life domains is available. The purpose of this study is to explore if and how students organize their PA across transport and recreational domains, and to identify the psychosocial factors related to these patterns. Methods: Students from 31 Irish universities completed a supervised online survey measuring participant characteristics, psychosocial factors, and PA. Two-step cluster analysis was used to identify specific PA patterns in students. Binary logistic regressions identified factors associated with cluster membership while controlling for age, sex, household income, and perceived travel time to a university. Results: Analysis was performed on 6951 students (50.7% male; 21.51 [5.55] y). One Low Active cluster emerged. Four clusters containing a form of PA emerged including Active Commuters, Active in University, Active Outside University, and High Active. Increases in motivation and planning improved the likelihood of students being categorized in a cluster containing PA. Conclusion: One size does not fit all when it comes to students PA engagement, with 5 patterns identified. Health professionals are advised to incorporate strategies for increasing students' motivation, action planning, and coping planning into future PA promotion efforts.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)325-332
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Physical Activity and Health
Volume16
Issue number5
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - May 2019

Keywords

  • Active commuting
  • Cluster analysis
  • Psychology
  • Youth

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