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Title: Storied experiences of physical activity involvement, family membership and happiness
Author: Day, John
ISNI:       0000 0004 8501 4347
Awarding Body: Canterbury Christ Church University
Current Institution: Canterbury Christ Church University
Date of Award: 2018
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Most physical activity (PA) research to focus on the influence of family context has concerned the parental provision of PA for children, within a climate of growing concerns about children's health and wellbeing. Many such studies approach families as static entities, with some researchers categorising families as either intact or broken and the lived complexities of wellbeing and PA often conceptualised as statistical trends. This study employed life history interviews with 30 participants recruited according to variety in terms of gendered family membership and differing levels of PA involvement. The aim of the research was to better understand lived connections between PA, wellbeing and family membership and the impact on PA participation over the life course. Absent from participants' storied experiences and lived perceptions, it is argued that the concept of wellbeing holds considerably less value than feelings of happiness in the context of qualitative research. Regularly active participants' experiences revolved around the retrospective interpretation of PA involvement as pleasurable, despite ambiguous bodily experiences during participation. PA took on increased purpose for participants according to entry into parenthood and increased awareness of the ageing body. Recollections of shared experiences and stories between family members revealed the significant influence of fathering and being fathered into PA, while any potential influence by mothers was belittled by sons and daughters. As a leisure activity among most of the older participants and a memorable family event during childhood across the sample, walking served as a useful point of comparison to scrutinise the relevance of childhood PA to participation across the life course. While connections are plausible and supported by some of the data, these claims are too often depicted in an overly deterministic fashion when examined against participants' real, unstable PA careers. Throughout the thesis the doctrine of healthism is pervasive, with participants concerned about not doing 'sufficient' PA, even when regularly active. Interviewees believed sedentariness would lead to future suffering and illness, yet these fears carried little weight as powerful motives for sustained PA involvement, especially in comparison to the enticement of pleasure.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Physical activity ; Socialisation ; Families ; Wellbeing ; Health