Term of Award

Fall 2020

Degree Name

Doctor of Public Health in Community Health Behavior and Education (Dr.P.H.)

Document Type and Release Option

Dissertation (open access)

Copyright Statement / License for Reuse

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.


Department of Health Policy and Community Health

Committee Chair

Stacy Smallwood

Committee Member 1

Ashley Walker

Committee Member 2

Jeffery Jones


Introduction: Physical Activity (PA) is critical to the health and well-being of African American emerging adults, ages 18-25. Research suggests that African American (AA) college students engage in less PA than other racial/ethnic groups. Few studies have examined the relationship between the collegiate built environment (CBE) impact on PA in this population. The Social Ecological Model (SEM) and the Social Cognitive Theory (SCT) were used to show how the environment facilitates influence on the behavior through physical and social factors affecting the behavior of engaging in PA. Methods: The purpose of this cross-sectional, concurrent multi-method study was to determine barriers and facilitators of PA engagement with an emphasis on the role of the CBE. This study took place on the Georgia Southern Statesboro Campus including only those who identified as AA/Black. The population was sampled using purposive convenience sampling method. The quantitative measures used were the International Physical Activity Questionnaire (IPAQ) and demographic questions based on the BRFSS survey. The qualitative measurement included seven focus groups occurring simultaneously as the quantitative measures. Grounded theory was used during the initial phase of coding generating themes with memo-writing occurring simultaneously. Results: There were 29 participants (14 female and 15 males) in this study. Small differences between the males and females were found where males engaged in PA at a high and moderate level in comparison to females at a low and high level. Major categories of themes from the focus groups included: (1) perceptions of PA engagement, (2) motivators, (3) impediments, (4) racial identity, (5) environmental influences. Significant themes that influence engagement in PA included: safety, growing up as an AA, environmental aesthetics, inclusion, and social/family support. Discussion: This study showed there are multiple levels of influence that motivate AA emerging adults to engage or not engage in PA. Findings from this study offer insight for program planning at the university and salience of racial identity barriers experienced when deciding to engage in PA.

OCLC Number


Research Data and Supplementary Material