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Smith, Mark

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The purpose of this phenomenological study was to examine what constitutes the experience of physical activity for Indonesian immigrant youth. Fifteen Indonesian young people aged 13 to 18 participated in the study. Data were collected through two sets of interviews. During the first set of interviews, data were gathered about physical activity experiences and the meanings that the youth ascribed to their participation. A second set of interviews were conducted to collect information about the participants’ strategies for engaging Indonesian immigrants in physical activity. Seven purposefully selected participants were the respondents in these interviews. Data were analyzed using a three step phenomenological data analysis process: horizonalization, textural and structural descriptions, and the essence of physical activity experience (Moustakas, 1994). Results indicated that the meanings of physical activity included the moving body anchored in naturalistic views of the body. Participants also identified the institutionalized forms of physical culture, along with their forms, purposes, and significance in their lives. These meanings were ascribed to their actual physical activity experiences which partly reflected acculturation processes. Results also revealed facilitators of, and barriers to, physical activity participation which were relatively similar to other groups of young people. However, the enabling factors might ineffectively facilitate participation and the hindering factors emerged as more powerful obstacles. Finally, results identified strategies to engage Indonesian immigrant youth in physical activity from the participants’ perspectives. These strategies included proactive outreach efforts by agencies providing physical activity programs. Participants’ voices and aspirations demonstrated that their cultural uniqueness might not immediately constitute the cultural capital to engage with major institutionalized forms of physical culture, especially among those who recently arrived in the United States.


Immigrant Youth, Meaning of Physical Activity, Phenomenological study


206 pages

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