Qualitative Exploration of Family Influences on Physical Activity in Hispanic Families

Jemima C. John, Natalia I. Heredia, Lorna H. McNeill, Deanna M. Hoelscher, Susan M. Schembre, Min Jae Lee, Jasmine J. Opusunju, Margaret Goetz, Maria Aguirre, Belinda M. Reininger, Larkin L. Strong

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Background: Limited information exists on how the family unit aids or impedes physical activity (PA) engagement within Hispanic populations. This qualitative study explored family-level influences on PA in dyads of adult Hispanic familymembers (eg, parent-adult child, siblings, spouses). Methods: In-person interviews and brief surveys were conducted together with 20 dyads lasting 1.5 hours each. Two researchers coded and analyzed text using thematic analysis in NVivo (version 11.0). They resolved discrepancies through consensus and used matrix coding analysis to examine themes by participants' demographics. Results: The participants were mainly women (70%), from Mexico (61.5%), and they reported low levels of acculturation (87.5%). Themed facilitators for PA included "verbal encouragement," "help with responsibilities," "exercising with someone," and "exercising to appease children." Themed challenges included "lack of support," "challenges posed by children," "sedentary behaviors," and "competing responsibilities." Women more so than men described family-level challenges and facilitators, and dyads where both study partners were physically active provided more positive partner interaction descriptions for PA support than other dyads. Conclusions: This study suggests that leveraging family support may be an important approach to promote and sustain PA, and that family-focused interventions should integrate communication-building strategies to facilitate family members' ability to solicit support from each other.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)89-98
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Physical Activity and Health
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2022
Externally publishedYes


  • Hispanic adults
  • exercise
  • health disparities
  • household influences
  • undeserved populations

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation
  • Epidemiology
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine


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