Factors related to physical activity: A study of adolescents

Runar Vilhjalmsson*, Thorolfur Thorlindsson

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

139 Citations (Scopus)


Although the consequences of physical activity have been carefully documented, less is known about its correlates, particularly among children and youth. Based on a representative national survey of 1131 Icelandic adolescents, the study examined various physical, psychological, social and demographic factors related to physical activity. Male sex, significant others' involvement in physical activity (father, friend and older brother), sociability, perceived importance of sport and of health improvement and satisfaction with mandatory gym classes in school, were all related to more involvement, whereas hours of paid work and TV-viewing were related to less. Furthermore, the data suggested that the influence of friend's participation in physical activity depends on his or her emotional significance. Influential others appeared to affect males and females in the same way. The meaning of the results and their implications for future research are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)665-675
Number of pages11
JournalSocial Science and Medicine
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sept 1998

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The Icelandic part of the WHO-Euro collaborative study was sponsored by the Ministry of Health in Iceland and directed by Hrafn V. Fridriksson in cooperation with Hrolfur Kjartansson and Thorolfur Thorlindsson. This research was supported in part by Grant No. 123230-92 from the University of Iceland Research Fund to the first author.

Other keywords

  • Attitudes
  • Exercise
  • Iceland
  • Life-style
  • Socialisation
  • Sport


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