Do perceived cues, benefits, and barriers to physical activity differ between male and female adolescents?

J Sch Health. 2002 Nov;72(9):374-80. doi: 10.1111/j.1746-1561.2002.tb03562.x.


A four-page survey was administered to 535 adolescents at two single-sex (one male, one female) high schools in Cincinnati, Ohio, to examine whether perceptions of physical activity differed by gender. More specifically, the survey assessed perceived cues, benefits, and barriers to exercising. Results indicated that the most helpful cue to physical activity for both female and male students was "having a friend to exercise with." The most commonly reported benefit of exercising among females was "to stay in shape," whereas the most commonly reported benefit to exercising among males was "to become strong." Among females, the most common barrier to exercising was "having no time to exercise," whereas males were most likely to report "wanting to do other things with my time." Multivariate analyses of covariance revealed that perceived cues, benefits, and barriers to physical activity differed significantly based on gender. Recommendations on specific strategies to increasing male and female adolescent physical activity levels are offered.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adolescent Behavior*
  • Attitude to Health
  • Exercise / psychology*
  • Female
  • Friends
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Multivariate Analysis
  • Ohio
  • Sex Factors
  • Social Perception*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires