Personal meanings, values and feelings relating to physical activity and exercise participation in female undergraduates: a qualitative exploration

Catherine Bulley, Marie Donaghy, Andrew Payne, Nanette Mutrie

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)
11 Downloads (Pure)


Understanding was sought of the ways that female students understand and feel about physical activity and exercise participation, to inform effective and ethical intervention. Sixteen women participated in semi-structured interviews which were analysed thematically, using QSR NUD*IST 4. Physical activity and exercise proved emotive topics and meant different things to different people. Some women associated physical activity and exercise with enjoyment, or achieving their goals. Others saw exercise in particular as a duty, associated with feelings of guilt and inadequacy. Findings supported the value of promoting realistic goals, and careful choice of activities according to individual preferences.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)751-760
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Health Psychology
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2009


  • meanings
  • values
  • feelings
  • physical activity
  • exercise participation
  • female undergraduates
  • exercise
  • sport

Cite this