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"I just gotta have my own space!": The role of space and audience in recreational choices made by adolescent girls in Western Australia

James, Kandy Ann (2000) "I just gotta have my own space!": The role of space and audience in recreational choices made by adolescent girls in Western Australia. PhD thesis, Murdoch University.

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Abstract

Adolescent girls are not as fit as adolescent boys. Although many adolescent girls pursue physically active lifestyles, others choose more passive options. This dissertation explores how perceptions towards recreational spaces may contribute to these differences. In the spirit of feminist research, girls and their perceptions were the focus of the study.

After a brief exploratory stage, 276 15-year old schoolgirls were surveyed regarding their attitudes towards a range of potential recreational spaces in the school, community and their homes. A year later, a subset of these girls was interviewed about three specific spaces: public swimming pools, basketball courts and bedrooms. Four focus groups were followed by individual interviews with 16 of the girls. Emergent factors that affected girls’ recreational choices in each of the spaces were drawn out and analysed. Conceptual frameworks that shed light on the relationships between these factors are provided.

My thesis is that participation in recreational activity is not spontaneous for many adolescent girls. Prior to participation, a girl appears to assess how a potential audience in a particular space at any one time might react to her physical appearance, athletic competence or behaviour. She weighs this up against other factors such as the potential of the activity to satisfy her desire for fun, inclusion, relaxation, exercise or sense of control. This may inhibit her active participation in some public spaces and make the generally passive site of the bedroom an attractive option.

The study contributes to an understanding of the factors that affect an adolescent girl’s recreational participation. This understanding should be of use to recreation programmers, facility providers, educational authorities and parents in their efforts to increase girls’ levels of participation in healthful physical activity.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Murdoch Affiliation: Division of Social Sciences, Humanities and Education
Notes: Note to the author: If you would like to make your thesis openly available on Murdoch University Library's Research Repository, please contact: repository@murdoch.edu.au. Thank you.
Supervisor(s): Macbeth, Jim, Harris, Patricia and Embrey, Lynn
URI: http://researchrepository.murdoch.edu.au/id/eprint/50631
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