Motives and Barriers to Physical Activity Among Older Adults of Different Socioeconomic Status

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This study explored motives and barriers to physical activity (PA) among older adults of differing socioeconomic status (SES) utilizing a self-determination theory and self-efficacy theory framework. Focus groups (n = 4) were conducted with older adults (n = 28) from two SES groups, using thematic analysis to identify motives and barriers. Integrated and identified regulations and, to a lesser extent, intrinsic motives, were evident across SES groups. Verbal persuasion and affective and physiological states emerged as prominent efficacy sources regardless of SES. More barriers were reported by the low SES group, with health conditions, neighborhood safety, and PA guidelines knowledge emerging as most salient. Time emerged as a prominent barrier for the high SES group. Integrated and identified regulations should be fostered in future interventions and policy regardless of SES. Barriers to PA varied across SES groups; thus future interventions and policy should account for such differences.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)419-429
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Aging and Physical Activity
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished (in print/issue) - 31 Jan 2016


  • physical activity
  • older adults
  • socio-economic status (SES)
  • Self Determination Theory (SDT)
  • Self-Efficacy Theory framework


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