Motivation to Improve Mental Wellbeing via Community Physical Activity Initiatives and the Associated Impacts—A Cross-Sectional Survey of UK parkrun Participants
1.2. parkrun and Mental Wellbeing
1.3. Aim of This Study
- What is their demographic?
- What are their mental wellbeing scores?
- What are their motives for first participating in parkrun as a runner or walker?
- What are their perceived impacts of participation in parkrun as a runner or walker?
2. Materials and Methods
2.1. Data Collection
2.1.1. Inclusion and Exclusion Criteria
2.1.2. The Survey
- parkrun participation type: The parkrun model allows runners and walkers to volunteer at events if they wish to. It is also possible to volunteer without ever running or walking at the event. The participants were asked to tick the option that best described their participation in parkrun. Options were (1) volunteer, (2) runner/walker who volunteers and (3) runner/walker (who does not volunteer). This study does not include the data from those who only volunteer (option 1).
- Health condition, illness or disability: participants were asked “Are your day-to-day activities limited because of a health condition or disability which has lasted, or is expected to last, at least 12 months? Include conditions related to old age, sensory deficits, mobility problems, developmental conditions, learning impairments and mental health.” The possible responses were; Yes, limited a lot, Yes, limited a little, No, Do not know or would rather not say. Participants who indicated that they did have a health condition, illness or disability were then asked to select all the applicable conditions from a list of 56 options. A further option for Other was also available with a free text response (not included here)
- Motives for running or walking at parkrun: participants were asked, “What motivated you to first participate at parkrun as a runner or walker?” [they were asked to select a maximum of three answers out of a possible 20 motives]. Additionally, the choice Other allowed a free-text response (not reported here). The answer choices were displayed in randomised order to help reduce response bias.
- SWEMWBS: Mental wellbeing was measured using seven SWEMWBS statements introduced with “Below are some statements about feelings and thoughts. Please tick the box that describes your experience of each over the last 2 weeks”. The participant could choose from; None of the time, Rarely, Some of the time, Often, All of the time. Participants who responded to all seven statements were given a SWEMWBS score . The validity and reliability of the SWEMWBS tool has been tested in English-speaking clinical and non-clinical adult populations in the UK [33,37,38] and clinical populations in Singapore .
- Perceived impact of running or walking at parkrun: participants were asked, “Thinking about the impact of parkrun on your health and wellbeing, to what extent has running or walking at parkrun changed:” [list of 15 impacts: much worse/worse/no impact/better/much better]. Additionally, the choice Other allowed a free-text response (not used here). The answer choices were randomised to help reduce response bias. Survey respondents who earlier indicated they had a health condition, disability or illness were asked one additional question to indicate the impact of running and walking on managing their health condition, disability or illness (much worse/worse/no impact/better/much better).
2.2.1. Preliminary Analysis
2.2.2. Statistical Analysis
3.1. Demographics of Participants
3.2. Short Warwick–Edinburgh Mental Wellbeing Scores
3.3. Motives for First Participating in parkrun for Those with a Mental Health Condition
3.4. Perceived Impact of Running or Walking at parkrun
3.5. Note on Results Section
4.1. Clinical Implications
4.2. Comparison with Published Studies
4.3. Implications for parkrun and Other Population-Level Events
Institutional Review Board Statement
Informed Consent Statement
Data Availability Statement
Conflicts of Interest
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|With a Mental Health|
|Without a Mental Health|
|Index of Multiple Deprivation n||46,131||1127||45,004||0.48||0.924||0.003|
|Activity level at parkrun registration n||43,475||1069||42,406||3.65||0.456||0.009|
|Full sample||With mental health condition||Without mental health condition||Z||p||Effect size|
|Range: minimum to maximum||16.0–93.5||16.2–84.5||16.0–93.5|
|Years registered n||60,000||1496||58,504|
|Range: minimum to maximum||0–14.1||0–13.3||0–14.1|
|Number of parkruns completed n||60,000||1496||58,504|
|Range: minimum to maximum||0–612||0–612||0–582|
|Number of parkruns per year n||34,609||841||33,768|
|Range: minimum to maximum||0 to 55.6||0 to 50.3||0 to 55.6|
|Limited Little and a Lot Combined||Depression||Anxiety||Panic|
|Full Sample||With Condition||Without Condition|
n = 59,282
a Mental Health
n = 1496
a Mental Health
n = 57,786
|To contribute to my fitness||56.2%||36.4%||56.7%||239.4||<0.001||0.06|
|To improve my physical health||37.0%||38.1%||37.0%||0.47||0.381||0.00|
|To gain a sense of personal achievement||26.9%||23.6%||26.9%||7.96||0.005||0.01|
|To get a recorded time for a 5 k||21.4%||12.6%||21.6%||69.1||<0.001||0.03|
|To manage my weight||19.8%||22.6%||19.7%||7.68||0.006||0.01|
|My friends, family or colleagues encouraged me to||15.2%||13.3%||15.2%||4.13||0.042||0.01|
|To train for another sport/event||14.2%||9.1%||14.3%||32.3||<0.001||0.02|
|To improve my mental health||13.0%||49.0%||12.0%||1742.2||<0.001||0.17|
|To feel part of a community||11.0%||9.8%||11.0%||2.41||0.121||0.01|
|To spend time outdoors||10.3%||8.3%||10.4%||6.49||0.011||0.01|
|To compete with others||9.8%||4.3%||9.9%||52.1||<0.001||0.03|
|To spend time with friends||7.7%||4.3%||7.8%||24.6||<0.001||0.02|
|To spend time with family||7.3%||3.8%||7.4%||27.2||<0.001||0.02|
|To improve happiness||6.7%||10.8%||6.6%||40.5||<0.001||0.26|
|It was part of a ‘couch to 5 K’ programme||5.3%||6.0%||5.3%||1.41||0.236||0.01|
|To meet new people||4.1%||4.9%||4.1%||2.46||0.117||0.01|
|To be active in a safe environment||4.1%||5.6%||4.0%||9.21||0.002||0.01|
|To improve or manage my health condition, disability or illness||3.4%||16.8%||3.0%||836.3||<0.001||0.12|
|To raise money for charity||0.5%||0.5%||0.5%||0.00||0.980||0.00|
|A health professional advised me to||0.3%||1.3%||0.3%||48.8||<0.001||0.03|
|Full Sample||With a|
|Without a Mental Health Condition|
|Impact of Running or Walking|
|Sense of personal achievement||56,282||90.7%||1385||87.2%||54,890||90.8%||21.3||<0.001||0.02|
|Amount of time spend outdoors||56,251||74.1%||1387||78.1%||54,864||74.0%||12.1||0.001||0.02|
|Enjoyment of competing||56,243||72.7%||1385||60.0%||54,874||73.0%||113.3||<0.001||0.05|
|How much you feel part of community||56,185||69.7%||1383||64.5%||54,827||69.8%||17.5||<0.001||0.02|
|Ability to be active in safe environment||56,224||59.9%||1388||68.9%||54,811||59.7%||47.4||<0.001||0.03|
|Number of new people you meet||56,247||57.5%||1386||57.0%||54,873||57.5%||0.18||0.673||0.00|
|Ability to control weight||56,218||52.3%||1382||50.0%||54,792||52.4%||3.13||0.077||0.01|
|Overall lifestyle choices (e.g., diet and smoking)||56,160||51.8%||1387||56.4%||54,862||51.6%||12.4||<0.001||0.02|
|Amount of time you spend with friends||6202||41.1%||1389||42.9%||54,752||41.1%||1.96||0.162||0.01|
|Amount of time you spend with family||56,235||27.7%||1385||24.4%||54,817||27.8%||7.91||0.005||0.01|
|* Ability to manage your health condition, disability or illness||5351||65.5%||1395||75.8%||3956||61.8%||88.65||<0.001||0.13|
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Dunne, A.; Haake, S.; Quirk, H.; Bullas, A. Motivation to Improve Mental Wellbeing via Community Physical Activity Initiatives and the Associated Impacts—A Cross-Sectional Survey of UK parkrun Participants. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18, 13072. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph182413072
Dunne A, Haake S, Quirk H, Bullas A. Motivation to Improve Mental Wellbeing via Community Physical Activity Initiatives and the Associated Impacts—A Cross-Sectional Survey of UK parkrun Participants. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health. 2021; 18(24):13072. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph182413072Chicago/Turabian Style
Dunne, Allison, Steve Haake, Helen Quirk, and Alice Bullas. 2021. "Motivation to Improve Mental Wellbeing via Community Physical Activity Initiatives and the Associated Impacts—A Cross-Sectional Survey of UK parkrun Participants" International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health 18, no. 24: 13072. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph182413072