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African American, behavior, physical activity



  1. Garland, Meghan
  2. Wilbur, JoEllen
  3. Fogg, Louis
  4. Halloway, Shannon
  5. Braun, Lynne
  6. Miller, Arlene


Background: African American women have lower levels of leisure time physical activity compared to White American women. Interventions to improve physical activity have mixed benefits for African American women, even when guided by theory. Understanding how theoretical constructs used in physical activity interventions relate to changing behavior may provide direction for more successful interventions.


Objective: The study aimed to examine the relationships among social cognitive constructs (self-efficacy, social support from group behavioral meetings, outcome expectations/realizations), and change in physical activity from baseline to 48 weeks in African American women participating in a lifestyle physical activity program.


Methods: A secondary data analysis of longitudinal data using a correlational design was conducted using data from a 48-week physical activity randomized controlled trial (RCT). The RCT included a group behavioral meeting component with one of three telephone intervention conditions (no calls, personal motivation calls, or automated motivational calls) randomly assigned across six community healthcare sites. The participants were 260 sedentary, midlife African American women with no major signs or symptoms of cardiovascular disease who completed baseline and 48-week assessments of the RCT. Measures included self-efficacy for change in overcoming barriers to physical activity at 24 weeks, physical and psychological outcome realizations at 24 weeks, social support from group behavioral meetings at 24 weeks, and physical activity (self-report and device-measured) change from baseline to 48 weeks.


Results: In a hierarchical regression model predicting change in self-reported time spent in weekly moderate-vigorous physical activity at 48 weeks, psychological outcome realizations at 24 weeks were significant positive predictors. In a hierarchical regression model for change in device-measured daily steps at 48 weeks, a self-efficacy change at 24 weeks was a significant positive predictor.


Discussion: Attention should be given to increasing self-efficacy to overcome physical activity barriers and achieve self-identified physical and psychological outcomes in physical activity programs.