Objectives Recreational sports are important leisure activities. However, most studies investigating barrier factors and motivation for participation in recreational sports have been limited to specific areas (e.g., a city or school) or demographic groups (e.g., adolescents). Therefore, this study set out to gain a more comprehensive understanding of the behavioral and socioeconomic factors influencing interest in recreational sports participation in Taiwan, as well as to evaluate the effect of any urban-rural divide. Methods This study analyzed data collected by the "Taiwan Social Change Survey" (program five, wave 3) "Leisure Life" questionnaire. We used hierarchical linear modeling to assess respondent interest in recreational sports participation and evaluated the influence of behavioral factors, socioeconomic factors, and residence location (urban/rural). Results Of the 2, 146 participants in this study, 50.3% were male, and the average age was 43.9 years. Location of residence (urban/rural) accounted for 35.3% of the variation in interest in recreational sports participation, while the remaining 64.7% came from the individual level. Participants who lived in rural settings were less interested in recreational sports than their urban counterparts. Gender, educational attainment, participation frequency, health-motivated interest, and appearance-motivated interest were also associated with interest in recreational sports participation. Conclusions Different communication strategies may be needed to effectively reach different demographic groups. We suggest that future public health campaigns aiming to increase recreational sports participation include tailored interventions and messages to effectively encourage leisure physical activities among all, regardless of demographic boundaries.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0178052
JournalPLoS One
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - May 1 2017

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)


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