New HEAL Study: Barriers to and facilitators of active travel from the youth perspective: A qualitative meta-synthesis
A team of researchers led by Adrian Buttazzoni with Kendra Nelson Ferguson, and Jason Gilliland recently published an article entitled: “Barriers to and facilitators of active travel from the youth perspective: A qualitative meta-synthesis.”
Trends in youth physical activity level have been significantly declining for decades. Recognizing the potential of a larger qualitative synthesis to offer a more in-depth and contextually embedded analyses regarding a complex behaviour like youth AT, the aim of the present paper is to collate and synthesize the existing qualitative literature that explores and discusses youth (5–19 years) perceived barriers and facilitators of AT.
Applying a systematic review and qualitative meta-synthesis approach, the present paper analyzed 53 qualitative manuscripts that explored the perceived barriers and facilitators of AT from the perspective of youth. Quality assessments of the synthesized literature suggested, generally, low-to moderate-quality research. Principal themes of the meta-syntheses indicated youth barriers being characterized by external regulators such as social and physical threats, poor efficacy, and meager local social and community capital; conversely, facilitators were characterized by individual autonomy influences such as positive evaluations of personal skill and efficacy, social dynamics, and supportive currents within a local community.
Future study should seek to explore these perceptual factors with more comprehensive qualitative approaches, conduct sociogeographical comparative or targeted group analyses when possible, and leverage peer influences and social networks in future AT intervention approaches. Alternatively, noting the limitations pertaining to sex/gender and age/development specific analyses, we also encourage future qualitative research to be mindful of these contexts when undertaking their analyses—or a component of their larger analyses—and how different gendered experiences and/or developmental phases may impact AT perceptions (e.g., exploring how, or to what extent, AT facilitates social opportunities for both older and younger teens, or with respect to different gender identities).
Citation: Adrian Buttazzoni, Kendra Nelson Ferguson, and Jason Gilliland. “Barriers to and facilitators of active travel from the youth perspective: A qualitative meta-synthesis.” SSM-Population Health 22, 101369 (2023); https://doi.org/10.1016%2Fj.ssmph.2023.101369