The Identification of Salient Beliefs Concerning University Students’ Decisions to Participate in Sport

Thomas St Quinton, Julie Brunton

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    3 Citations (Scopus)
    86 Downloads (Pure)


    The aim of this study was to identify salient beliefs toward university-provided recreational sport in first-year undergraduate students. A purposive sample of 76 students (36 males, 40 females; mean age: 19.2 ± 1.7 years) undertaking various degree subjects at a higher education institution in the North of England, United Kingdom, was used in the study. The instrument was a theory-based open-ended questionnaire informed by the Theory of Planned Behavior, addressing behavioral, normative, and control beliefs. Thematic content analysis and coding was conducted on 30 randomly selected questionnaires followed by a frequency count to identify the modal salient beliefs. The modal set revealed 17 beliefs from a possible 53: six behavioral, five normative, and six control. These beliefs were related to health benefits, enjoyment, friendships, time constraints, study workloads, awareness, and the perception of family, friends, and academics. The results highlight the factors that should be targeted for intervention and provide data to be utilized for a second main quantitative study which will identify more specific belief targets. Due to equivocal intervention success, this formative research can serve to help increase the number of students participating in university recreational sport.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)48-63
    Number of pages16
    JournalRecreational Sports Journal
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2018


    • theory of planned behavior
    • intervention
    • physical activity
    • recreational sports


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