Publication Details

Parrish, A., Yeatman, H., Iverson, D. & Russell, K. 2012, 'Using interviews and peer pairs to better understand how school environments affect young children's playground physical activity levels: a qualitative study', Health Education Research, vol. 27, no. 2, pp. 269-280.


School break times provide a daily opportunity for children to be active; however, research indicates this time is underutilized. Reasons for low children’s playground activity levels have primarily focused on physical barriers. This research aimed to contribute to physical environmental findings affecting children’s playground physical activity levels by identifying additional variables through the interview process. Thirteen public schools were included in the sample (total 2946 children). Physical activity and environmental data were collected over 3 days. Environmental variables were manually assessed at each of the 13 schools. Observational data were used to determine which three schools were the most and least active. The principal, three teachers and 20 students in Grades 4–6 from these six schools (four lower and two average socioeconomic status) were invited to participate in the interview process. Student interviews involved the paired interview technique. The main themes generated from the school interviews included the effect of non-fixed equipment (including balls), playground markings, playground aesthetics, activity preference, clothing, the amount of break time available for play, teacher playground involvement, gender, bullying, school policies, student confidence in break-time activity and fundamental movement skills. The effect of bullying on playground physical activity levels was concerning.



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