Journal Title

Nursing Research

Publication Date



Background: Inadequate physical activity (PA) contributes to the high prevalence of overweight and obesity among U.S. adolescent girls. Barriers preventing adolescent girls from meeting PA guidelines have not been thoroughly examined.

Objectives: The threefold purpose of this study was to: (a) determine pubertal stage, racial/ethnic, and socioeconomic status (SES) differences in ratings of interference of barriers to PA; (b) examine relationships between perceived barriers and age, body mass index (BMI), recreational screen time, sedentary activity, and PA; and (c) identify girls’ top-rated perceived barriers to PA.

Methods: Girls (N = 509) from eight Midwestern U.S. schools participated. Demographic, pubertal stage, perceived barriers, and recreational screen time data were collected via surveys. Height and weight were measured. Accelerometers measured sedentary activity, moderate-to-vigorous physical activity (MVPA), and light plus MVPA.

Results: Girls of low SES reported greater interference of perceived barriers to PA than those who were not of low SES (1.16 vs. 0.97, p = .01). Girls in early/middle puberty had lower perceived barriers than those in late puberty (1.03 vs. 1.24, p < .001). Girls’ perceived barriers were negatively related to MVPA (r = -.10, p = .03) and light plus MVPA (r = -.11, p = .02). Girls’ top five perceived barriers included lack of skills, hating to sweat, difficulty finding programs, being tired, and having pain.

Discussion: Innovative interventions, particularly focusing on skill development, are needed to assist girls in overcoming their perceived barriers to PA.

Author Supplied Keywords

Adolescent, Female, Physical exercise, Puberty


Adolescent psychology; Teenage Girls--Health Aspects

Publication Information

Nursing Research, 2015, Volume 64, Issue 5, 342-350.

© 2015 Wolters Kluwer Health, Inc.

Archived version is the accepted manuscript.





Document Type

Journal Article

Included in

Nursing Commons