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Advisor: R Brawer, M DiCarlo Thomas Jefferson University, School of Population Health, Philadelphia, PA.


The purpose of this study was to understand the factors that have enabled urban African American women aged 25-45 to sustain recommended levels of physical activity (PA) over a period of a year. The study design used a positive deviance qualitative research approach to recruit participants with snowball and convenience sampling measures; in-depth interviews were conducted using an interview guide structured around literature review findings and the positive deviance research approach. Interviews were audio recorded, transcribed, and coded using triangulation. Inductive thematic analysis was used to define final themes and sub-themes in a code book. PA was discussed across three time periods: childhood, young adulthood and present. Themes were early physical activity experiences (ECPAE), PA motivation, and PA maintenance. Participants attributed successes to the use of social media, weight concern, SPA, peer roles, and having an innate desire to maintain an improved quality of life. Effectively managing hair, creative solutions to access and cost issues, building support systems, and independently developing a PA structure or routine practice, were all outlier practices used to overcome barriers to PA in the positive deviants. Previous literature support themes identified in this study, and social media emerged as a new variable increasing PA. Though a number of themes were identified that may affect successful PA practices, this study should be replicated and expanded with a more representative sample, as average participant socioeconomic status for the study sample was higher than average rates in the study population locally, and could represent confounding factors in determining how PA was maintained.

Presentation: 29:06