UBC Undergraduate Research

Female Students' Experiences with Active Study Stations Yeung, Nelson; Sun, Raeanne; Tsang, Ryan; Chen, Jennie; Hoang, Eric


The purpose of this project was to evaluate female UBC students’ experiences using the active study stations available in Irving K. Barber Library (IKB). Sedentary behaviour among university students can average 11.10 hours a day, with female students engaging in more sedentary behaviour compared to male students, on average (Haase, Steptoe, Sallis, & Wardle, 2004; Mounlin, Truelove, Burke, & Irwin, 2019). Poor health outcomes associated with sedentary behaviour include cardiovascular disease, cancer, type 2 diabetes, and all-cause mortality (Katzmarzyk, Church, Craig, & Bouchard, 2009). Active workstations or study stations have been proposed as effective physical activity interventions to combat sedentary behaviour, particularly in university library settings (Maeda, Quartiroli, Vos, Carr, & Mahar, 2014). Semi-structured interviews were conducted with five female participants who reported using the active study stations before. Interview questions were aimed at evoking participants’ subjective experiences when utilizing the active study stations, such as level of comfort, usability, and accessibility. Participants were also asked about their motivations to start using the active study stations, physical activity habits, amounts of sedentary behaviour, and living arrangements. The responses collected from the interviews were transcribed and coded into meaningful categories for qualitative description. We interpreted four key categories from the data: awareness, accessibility, comfort, and physical activity/productivity. Positive participant responses about the active study stations included ease of use, enjoyment and fun, and beliefs that the active study stations were effective physical activity interventions. In particular, participants perceived that the active study stations did help them reduce the amount of time they engaged in sedentary behaviour, and also noted that the idea of moving while they worked improved their effectiveness and productivity in studying. However, participants also indicated many negative inclinations they had towards the active study stations. They expressed difficulties with the limited quantity of active study stations and how they are only available in the Irving K. Barber Library, which is far from the center of campus. Moreover, they stated that social barriers such as awkwardness and embarrassment due to the proximity and positioning of the desk bikes in front of other people impeded their use. All the participants in this study lived off-campus, and noted their living arrangements as another barrier to usage of the active study stations. In terms of motivations to begin using the active study stations, participants stated that they happened to walk by them and were interested in testing them out. Many participants expressed that they believe that the awareness among the general population of UBC students of the active study stations is low. Three recommendations have been made to our project partner, UBC Athletics and Recreation. First, our project partner should consider moving the already existing active study stations within Irving K. Barber Library to be further apart from each other and situated in more discreet areas of the library. Second, there should be physical and social media advertisements in order to increase awareness and usage of the active study stations. Finally, we recommend that more active study stations be installed in every library across campus in order to facilitate accessibility. Disclaimer: “UBC SEEDS provides students with the opportunity to share the findings of their studies, as well as their opinions, conclusions and recommendations with the UBC community. The reader should bear in mind that this is a student project/report and is not an official document of UBC. Furthermore readers should bear in mind that these reports may not reflect the current status of activities at UBC. We urge you to contact the research persons mentioned in a report or the SEEDS Coordinator about the current status of the subject matter of a project/report.”

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