Year of Award


Document Type


Degree Type

Master of Science (MS)

Degree Name

Health and Human Performance (Community Health Option)

Department or School/College

Department of Health and Human Performance

Committee Chair

Laura Dybdal

Commitee Members

Annie Sondag, Darrell Stolle


After-School, After-School Physical Activity, Physical activity, Youth


University of Montana


The purpose of this study was to identify barriers to participation in the Active 6 After-School Physical Activity (A6) program in Missoula, MT. Barriers were explored by identifying factors that influence participation in after-school programs. Those barriers identified in the literature were compared with current needs and existing resources of the target population. To evaluate the barriers to the A6 program, primary qualitative data was collected from two sets of three focus groups; one high socio-economic status (SES) and one low. The results of this assessment identified barriers to participation in the A6 program from both parents/guardians and kids. Barriers to participation among parents included a general lack of information about the program, a desire to include educational components about nutrition and social emotional health, and safety/supervision concerns. The kids identified barriers including a desire to have more new and interesting activities, and time conflicts with prior engagements. The high SES parents identified a general lack of information and other engagements as barriers while the low SES parents identified a desire to have educational components included in the program, as well as a lack of information about the program, and a lack of parent and sibling involvement/inclusion. In addition to barriers to participation in the A6 program, the participants also identified components of the program that they liked. The parent/guardian groups identified improvements including social and emotional benefits. This was true for both the high SES and the low SES groups. The kids mentioned positive aspects including enjoyment of the competitive sports as well as the non-competitive activities such as climbing and swimming. The data also pointed to an overarching barrier that was more inductive than deductive. That barrier was a general ambiguity to the program. When the parents were speaking to many of the barriers, it was apparent to the researchers that they were confused, misinformed, and generally left out. The Socio-Ecological model was used as a guide to identify specific recommendations for each of the five levels identified in the model. The findings from this study will be used by the Missoula, MT YMCA to help enhance and grow the A6 program.



© Copyright 2013 William David Reamer