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Article

The Effects of Play Streets on Social and Community Connectedness in Rural Communities

1
Department of Public Health, Baylor University Robbins College of Health and Human Sciences, Waco, TX 78628, USA
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Department of Health & Kinesiology, Texas A&M University, College Station, TX 77843, USA
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Division of Kinesiology & Sport Management, School of Education Research Center, University of South Dakota, Vermillion, SD 57069, USA
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School of Nursing, Oregon Health & Science University, Portland, OR 97239, USA
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Department of Public Health & Health Education, SUNY Brockport, Brockport, NY 14420, USA
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Department of Social and Behavioral Sciences, West Virginia University School of Public Health, Morgantown, WV 25606, USA
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Department of Health Policy and Management, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Baltimore, MD 21205, USA
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Paul B. Tchounwou
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18(19), 9976; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph18199976
Received: 13 August 2021 / Revised: 14 September 2021 / Accepted: 14 September 2021 / Published: 23 September 2021
Promoting physical activity (PA) is a long-standing public health initiative to improve overall health and wellbeing. Innovative strategies such as Play Streets, temporary activation of public spaces to provide safe places for active play, are being adopted in urban and rural communities to increase PA among children. As part of these strategies, aspects of social and community connectedness may be strengthened. This study analyzes focus groups and interviews from rural Play Street implementation team members (n = 14) as well as adults (n = 7) and children (n = 25) who attended Play Streets hosted in rural North Carolina, Maryland, Oklahoma, and Texas to better understand the added benefits of Play Streets in community connectedness. Overall, elements of social support and social cohesion are mentioned most frequently with instrumental and conditional support; however, concepts of social capital, collective-efficacy, and social identification are also presented. Participants expressed that Play Streets provided more than just PA; they provided opportunities to access and share resources, build perceptions of safety and trust in the community, and develop relationships with others. Fostering community connection through Play Streets may reduce health inequities in rural communities by building community resilience. Community-based PA programming that enhance and capitalize on community connectedness could be effective ways to improving the overall health and wellbeing of residents. View Full-Text
Keywords: social environment; community-based interventions; physical activity; active play; community connectedness; health externalities; social determinants of health social environment; community-based interventions; physical activity; active play; community connectedness; health externalities; social determinants of health
MDPI and ACS Style

Umstattd Meyer, M.R.; Prochnow, T.; Pickett, A.C.; Perry, C.K.; Bridges Hamilton, C.N.; Abildso, C.G.; Pollack Porter, K.M. The Effects of Play Streets on Social and Community Connectedness in Rural Communities. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18, 9976. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph18199976

AMA Style

Umstattd Meyer MR, Prochnow T, Pickett AC, Perry CK, Bridges Hamilton CN, Abildso CG, Pollack Porter KM. The Effects of Play Streets on Social and Community Connectedness in Rural Communities. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health. 2021; 18(19):9976. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph18199976

Chicago/Turabian Style

Umstattd Meyer, M. R., Tyler Prochnow, Andrew C. Pickett, Cynthia K. Perry, Christina N. Bridges Hamilton, Christiaan G. Abildso, and Keshia M. Pollack Porter 2021. "The Effects of Play Streets on Social and Community Connectedness in Rural Communities" International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health 18, no. 19: 9976. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph18199976

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