A social identity approach to understanding and promoting physical activity

Stevens, Mark, Rees, Tim, Coffee, Pete, Steffens, Niklas K., Haslam, S. Alexander and Polman, Remco (2017) A social identity approach to understanding and promoting physical activity. Sports Medicine, 47 10: 1-8. doi:10.1007/s40279-017-0720-4

Author Stevens, Mark
Rees, Tim
Coffee, Pete
Steffens, Niklas K.
Haslam, S. Alexander
Polman, Remco
Title A social identity approach to understanding and promoting physical activity
Journal name Sports Medicine   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 1179-2035
Publication date 2017-03-27
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1007/s40279-017-0720-4
Open Access Status DOI
Volume 47
Issue 10
Start page 1
End page 8
Total pages 8
Place of publication Auckland, New Zealand
Publisher Adis International
Language eng
Subject 2732 Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
3612 Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation
Abstract Against the backdrop of a global physical inactivity crisis, attempts to both understand and positively influence physical activity behaviours are characterized by a focus on individual-level factors (e.g. cognitions, attitudes, motivation). We outline a new perspective, drawn from an emerging body of work exploring the applicability of social identity and self-categorization theories to domains of sport and health, from which to understand and address this pervasive problem. This social identity approach suggests that the groups to which people belong can be, and often are, incorporated into their sense of self and, through this, are powerful determinants of physical activity-related behaviour. We start by reviewing the current state of physical activity research and highlighting the potential for the social identity approach to help understand how social factors influence these behaviours. Next, we outline the theoretical underpinnings of the social identity approach and provide three key examples that speak to the analytical and practical value of the social identity approach in physical activity settings. Specifically, we argue that social identity (1) can be harnessed to promote engagement in physical activity, (2) underpins exercise group behaviour, and (3) underpins effective leadership in exercise settings. We conclude by identifying prospects for a range of theory-informed research developments.
Keyword Cardiac Rehabilitation
Nordic Walking
Physical Activity
Physical Activity Behaviour
Social Identity
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Provisional Code
Institutional Status UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: HERDC Pre-Audit
School of Psychology Publications
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