Triwoman 2009: participant attributes and intentions
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The main objective of this thesis is to determine if the 2009 Triwoman series could attract insufficiently active women and encourage them to sustain a sufficient level of physical activity three months after the event. A further objective was to explore the role of the psychological connection model as a means of modelling behaviour change in the active leisure domain. All participants in the 2009 MoreFM Triwoman series were invited to join the study. Triwoman is a woman-only novice triathlon at the short end of the triathlon spectrum. The study used three online surveys to collect data from four time-points: When they commenced preparation (T0); at time of entry (T1); immediately after their first event (T2) and; three months after their first event (T3). The results showed that the 452 survey respondents at T1 were predominantly middle-aged, well-educated working mothers. These women were motivated towards their physical activity by challenge, competition and enjoyment. Physical activity was high at time of event entry with a mean of 709 minutes (SD = 604) of weekly activity at T1. At T3 (n=95) this declined to a mean of 181 minutes (SD = 156) of weekly activity. There was a transition rate of 62% as eight of the 12 women, who were “Inactive” prior to commencing event preparation, remained sufficiently active three months after their first event. At T3, more than 70% of the participants intended to return to the Triwoman event. Approximately 80% intended to participate in other mass participation sporting event (MPSE) styles such as running or cycling events. This gave a total of about 90% of the T3 participants intending to participate in other MPSE. This suggests that novice events can act as “gateways” to further event participation. Furthermore, repeat participation in MPSE drives long-term physical activity behaviours. Psychological connection to triathlons, as measured by the Psychological Connection Model (PCM), was associated with behavioural intentions towards further MPSE participation. The PCM was simple to use and warrants further investigation as a framework by which to understand behavioural change. This study was limited by low study numbers and was confounded by a low rate of first-time participants. However, it concluded that PCM should be further explored as a behaviour change model in the active leisure domain. Finally, MPSE show promise as a means of encouraging sustainable increases in population physical activity.