Exploring the motivations and challenges West African female students experience engaging in university sport

Anika Leslie-Walker*, Claire Mulvenna, Oneida Bramble

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (journal)peer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)
39 Downloads (Pure)


This study sought to explore the motivations and challenges to the engagement of female West African university students, whilst participating in competitive and non-competitive extra-curricular sport and physical activity (ECSPA). The study was situated at a university in the North West of England that has a culturally diverse student population. The ECSPA program that operates at the university seeks to enable individuals to embark upon activities away from their academic schedule, wherein engagement in such activities is thought to nurture health, well-being and social development. Drawing on the intersections of ethnicity, culture and gender, the study aimed to identify the dominant constructs that influence West African students’ motivations towards ECSPA. An online cross-sectional survey of 168 participants with an average age of 34 years complimented by two focus group interviews involving 15 participants, was the primary data source for this study. The women in the study evidenced their key motivations for engaging in ECSPA, such as enjoyment, affiliation and appearance. However, a range of structural barriers to participating in ECSPA was identified including cultural insensitivities, unrelatable marketing and the non-alignment of ECSPA scheduling to the academic timetable.

Original languageEnglish
JournalCurriculum Studies in Health and Physical Education
Early online date21 May 2022
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 21 May 2022


  • Culture
  • gender
  • higher education
  • physical activity
  • sport


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