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Attitude to physical activity of adolescent substance users.


Marie Claire Van Hout, Sean Connor

Type: Report
Region: Republic of Ireland
Northern Ireland

Background: Involvement in physical activity and sport has been associated with reduced substance misuse patterns, abstinence, and successful rehabilitation.1 Aim: This research investigated the initial short-term (in treatment: six weeks) and long-term impact (in aftercare: two years) on attitude toward physical activity with corresponding participation levels in a group of adolescent addicts (n = 176) who participated in a structured physical activity program during residential treatment. Methods: Physical activity participation level was measured using a self-report questionnaire, and attitudes toward physical activity were measured using the Kenyon Attitude Scales2 at various stages: on commencing treatment, on completion, six weeks posttreatment, and in the two-year aftercare program. Physical activity was conceptualized as social experience, health and fitness, pursuit of vertigo, aesthetic experience, catharsis, or ascetic experience. Results: Physical activity participation level increased during residential treatment and decreased during nonresidential aftercare. Total Kenyon scores revealed a significant difference in overall attitude to physical activity between completion of treatment and when in the two-year after care program (p < 0.01). It is notable that favorable increases in attitude toward all six dimensions of physical activity2 are present during the treatment intervention, and fail to be maintained on reentry to familiar/prior environments and stimuli. Conclusions: The reduction in overall attitude toward physical activity and participation level on return to old environments and stimuli indicate that positive acquired values were not maintained postintervention. Adolescent substance abusers in after care must be provided with support in developing and maintaining a physically active lifestyle post-drug rehabilitation. Key words: adolescent substance abuse, attitude, physical activity, rehabilitation





Rights: Public
Suggested citation:

Marie Claire Van Hout, Sean Connor. (2007) Attitude to physical activity of adolescent substance users. [Online]. Available from: [Accessed: 17th November 2019].


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