Promoting physical activity to adolescent girls with positive self-talk
Angus Print Ltd, Leeds
Faculty of Business and Law
School of Management
Adolescent girls are generally not as fit as boys and are more likely to opt out of physical activity, with negative effects on long-term health. Negative self-talk (what people say to themselves) may lead many girls to choose to be less physically active as a way of dealing with self-consciousness over body image while other girls develop positive self-talk strategies to overcome perceived negative factors and continue to participate. This study explored the ways that adolescent girls (both active and inactive) talk themselves into and out of doing physical activity and identified key cognitions that might protect them from negative self-talk and persuade them to be more physically active. Fifteen 12 paired interviews and seven focus groups were conducted with Year 9, 10 and 11 girls (aged 14-17 years). Concepts emerged relating to: 1) strengthening the inner self; 2) minimizing external criticism; and 3) seeking social support. Further research to establish the effectiveness of promoting varying cognitions to adolescent girls to persuade them to be more physically active could inform future social marketing strategies.