John R. Geer

Date of Graduation


Document Type



Adult residents (n = 184) of two counties in West Virginia completed a survey assessing perceptions of their physical and social environments, and self-reported physical activity (PA). Semi-structured interviews were conducted with nine of these participants who met CDC PA recommendations, and with 10 individuals involved in public policy regarding perceptions of their communities for PA and issues related to PA barriers. Active residents were more likely to use community facilities than inactive residents (p < .001). In addition, active residents reported significantly higher self-efficacy for meeting PA recommendations than inactive residents (p < .001). Overall, participants with high self-efficacy were eight times more likely to meet recommended levels of PA. Residents’ environmental barriers to PA included lack of accessibility to facilities, lack of community walkability, and safety and traffic issues. Personal barriers to PA were also commonly cited by residents, including being too busy/having competing demands and poor attitude/motivation. Residents cited the use of exercise partners or groups as being important for increasing physical activity. Policy officials cited similar environmental and personal barriers, but often placed responsibility for overcoming those barriers on the residents within their communities.