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Runners’ Engagement and Social Support Practices: Exploring the Uses and Role of Online Activities.

Littlejohns, R., Gouthro, M.-B. and Dickinson, J. E., 2019. Runners’ Engagement and Social Support Practices: Exploring the Uses and Role of Online Activities. Sport in Society, 22 (12), 2243-2260.

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Littlejohns et al 2019 open access.pdf - Accepted Version
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DOI: 10.1080/17430437.2019.1571486


Tracking technologies that monitor exercise and health have grown in popularity, while online communities have emerged to encourage healthier lifestyles. Runners display high engagement levels with these technologies, however, studies are inconclusive about the effectiveness of these tools, and half of tracking device owners stop use within three months. This exploratory study analyses the engagement practices of UK based long distance runners with tracking technologies and online communities in order to explore how these provide social support for runners. Data were derived from nine interviews. Findings identify distinct use practices associated with social networking sites, running club online communities and tracking applications. Social support is not as prominent as social comparison, identity formation, motivation and information gathering for runners. The nature of the community, co-present connections between individuals and running experience have implications for engagement and support practices, while emotional attachment to data represents an opportunity for development.

Item Type:Article
Uncontrolled Keywords:Running, social support, online groups, tracking apps, exploratory
Group:Bournemouth University Business School
ID Code:31650
Deposited By: Symplectic RT2
Deposited On:18 Jan 2019 11:40
Last Modified:14 Mar 2022 14:14


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