Get outside! promoting adolescent health through outdoor after-school activity

Patricia Ann Barfield, Katelyn Ridder, Justin Hughes, Kelly Rice-Mcneil

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Background: The Get Outside: After School Activity Program (GO-ASAP) exemplifies how a rural community can utilize its natural resources and community partnerships to promote adolescent health. Methods: A qualitative descriptive inquiry was conducted using convenience sampling. Data were collected from students (n = 13/2018; n = 13/2019) via focus group and art-based method (2018 only) and parent (n = 6/2018) focus group. Data were analyzed via qualitative content analysis using the applied theoretical frameworks of Social Cognitive Theory and Social Determination Theory. Results: (1) Increasing Health-Related Competencies. Students increased their physical activity, improved their sleep, perceived less stress, and reported changes in dietary habits and electronic use. (2) Increasing Social Relatedness. Students made new friends, felt more connected, and spent less time home alone after school. (3) Increasing Autonomy and Intrinsic Motivation. Students recognized their emerging capabilities, and their increased confidence stimulated more action-oriented behavior. Parent-perceived changes support and mirror student reports. Conclusion: Outdoor, nature-based, activity programs are a novel upstream approach to promote adolescent health, especially in rural communities where natural resources often exceed health-service resources and community partnerships are a way of life.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number7223
JournalInternational journal of environmental research and public health
Issue number14
StatePublished - Jul 2 2021


  • Adolescent
  • Health promotion
  • Outdoor activity
  • Qualitative inquiry
  • Rural

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pollution
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis


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