Gender differences in college student physical activity, and campus recreational facility use, and comfort

Oliver W.A. Wilson, Crystal Colinear, David Guthrie, Melissa Bopp

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Objective: To examine disparities in physical activity, campus recreation facility (CRF) use, and CRF comfort of college students. Methods: Students (n = 319) responded to an online survey that assessed their demographics, physical activity behaviors, CRF use, comfort using CRFs, as well as reasons for discomfort, and strategies used to feel comfortable. Results: Women reported less muscle-strengthening activity, lower frequency of weight use and informal sport participation, and higher frequency of cardio and group exercise participation. Women also reported lower comfort using CRFs, particularly weights areas. The presence of men, a perceived lack of skill (competence), and self-consciousness/judgement emerged as dominant themes explaining women’s discomfort. Disassociation using music, going with friends for social support, knowledge acquisition regarding equipment, and clothing selection emerged as strategies used to increase comfort. Conclusions: Meaningful differences in physical activity behaviors, facility use, and comfort using facilities emerged. Administrators should consider changing environments and/or policies to provide equitable physical activity opportunities.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1315-1320
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of American College Health
Issue number5
StatePublished - 2022

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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