Physical Activity Enjoyment, Perceived Barriers, and Beliefs Among Adolescents With and Without Intellectual Disabilities

J Phys Act Health. 2016 Jan;13(1):102-10. doi: 10.1123/jpah.2014-0548. Epub 2015 Apr 1.


Background: Youths with intellectual disabilities (ID) exhibit low levels of physical activity, but the underlying contributors to behavior are unclear. We compared physical activity enjoyment, perceived barriers, beliefs, and self-efficacy among adolescents with ID and typically developing (TD) adolescents.

Methods: A questionnaire was administered to 38 adolescents with ID (mean age, 16.8 years) and 60 TD adolescents (mean age, 15.3 years). Of the original 33 questionnaire items, 23 met the test-retest reliability criteria and were included in the group comparisons.

Results: Fewer adolescents with ID reported that they have someone with whom to do physical activity (64% vs 93%: P < .001), and a greater percentage of adolescents with ID perceived that physical activities were too hard to learn (41% vs 0%; P < .001). Fewer adolescents with ID believed that physical activity would be good for their health (92% vs 100%; P = .05). More adolescents with ID reported a dislike of individual physical activities (P = .02). A large percentage of adolescents with ID (84%) responded that they were good at doing physical activities, but the difference between groups was only of borderline significance (95% of TD adolescents, P = .06).

Conclusions: Adolescents shared many of the same perceptions about physical activity, but some important differences between groups were identified.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Intellectual Disability / psychology*
  • Male
  • Motor Activity / ethics*
  • Perception
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Young Adult