To Run or Not to Run: Understanding Motives and Barriers Among Female Runners

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This study examines females’ various motives and barriers for running. Female event participation has grown exponentially over the past two decades. However, current research does not explore levels of runners to include the evolving running culture, nor does it explore stages experienced throughout motherhood in connection to running. Using an online questionnaire, a total of 150 female runners were grouped into different runner levels (e.g. serious, enthusiastic, and incidental) as well as different stages of motherhood (e.g. mothers with young children, mothers with school aged children, mothers with older children, and females with no children). Participants completed the Motivations of Marathoners Scales (MOMS) to measure running motives and a modified version of the Exercise Benefits/Barriers Scale (EBBS) to measure running barriers. Multiple multivariate analysis of variance (MANOVA) analyses were used to test the hypothesized differences. As a group, serious runners endorsed goal achievement, competition, life meaning, psychological coping, and affiliation as reasons for running. Enthusiastic runners were more likely to endorse personal goal achievement than incidental runners. Additionally, mothers with young children were more likely to cite family barriers as barriers to running than mothers with older children or females with no children. The findings’ potential applications to research, programs, policy, and training are discussed.
Thesis submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree Master of Public Health
Public Health