Perceived constraints and social support for active leisure among mothers with young children

Peter R. Brown, Wendy J. Brown, Yvette D. Miller, Vibeke Hansen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

188 Citations (Scopus)


Evidence suggests that women who are mothers of young children have lower levels of physical activity than women of similar age who do not have children (Brown, Lee, Mishra, & Bauman, 2000). The purposes of this study were to explore the factors that constrain mothers of young children from being more physically active, and the relationship between physical activity and levels of social support available to the women. The empirical basis for this examination was provided through a study of activity levels and barriers to physical activity experienced by a sample of 543 mothers of young children from differing socioeconomic backgrounds. The data indicate that: (a) more than two-thirds of the mothers were inadequately active in their leisure time for health benefit; (b) while the vast majority of mothers expressed a desire to be more active, they were inhibited in their ability to act out their leisure preferences by a combination of structural (e.g., lack of time, money, energy) and ideological influences (e.g., sense of commitment to others); (c) access to social support (from partners, family, and friends) was seen to place some women in a better position than others to negotiate constraints that inhibit leisure participation; and (d) within groups of varying socioeconomic status (SES) there was wide variation in the amount of time spent each week in active leisure.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)131-144
Number of pages14
JournalLeisure Sciences
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2001
Externally publishedYes


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