Access Type

Open Access Dissertation

Date of Award

January 2016

Degree Type


Degree Name


First Advisor

Nathan McCaughtry


According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC, 2013), over the last 30 years childhood obesity has doubled in youth ages 6-11 and tripled in those ages 12-19. Furthermore, obesity trends are higher among minority females, specifically African American (AA) adolescent females. Lack of daily physical activity (PA) among youth is a key factor in rising obesity rates (National Institutes of Health [NIH], 2013; National Physical Activity Plan[NPAP], 2014), with a significant decline in PA among the AA female population (Kimm et al., 2002). Given what is known about the decline in PA among AA adolescent females, (Ennis,1999; Kimm et al., 2002), it is logical physical education (PE) programs would make changes to accommodate students of varying skill levels and interests. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to examine AA high school girls’ perceptions of dance-based PE in relation to their past experiences in sport-based PE. Two theoretical frameworks were used to guide this study: culturally relevant physical education framework (CRPE, Flory & McCaughtry, 2011) and selfdetermination

theory (SDT, Ryan & Deci, 2000). Three teachers who taught dance PE and 19

AA adolescent females were observed and interviewed for one semester at three different high schools. In addition, six teachers who taught sport PE were observed during this time.

The main findings from this study suggest in order to engage AA adolescent females during PE, teachers need to demonstrate care and provide a CR curriculum that includes a variety of activities; specifically dance. In addition, to maximize participation and meet the three needs of SDT, PE teachers should create an autonomous environment, build competence, and create relationships with and among students.