Witmer, L., Bocarro, J.N., & Henderson, K. (2011). Adolescent Girls' Perception of Health within a Leisure Context. Journal of Leisure Research, 43(3), 334-354.
The study examined middle school females’ perceptions of physical activity, eating, and physical health within a leisure context. A qualitative approach was used to gain a deeper understanding of the significance girls place on health behaviors and factors that go into their decisions about leisure time activity and eating. Four focus groups were conducted with 28 girls in 6th through 8th grades. Four themes emerged from the analyses: perceptions of health, family, and food, social norms, and enjoyment. Results are summarized regarding how healthy diets and physical activity participation in adolescent girls can be associated with promoting enjoyable leisure. Theoretical implications of these data relate to the importance of enjoyment and leisure as prerequisites for healthy behaviors and how social cognitive theory helps explain these relationships.