203845 A Longitudinal Examination to Assess Whether Changes in Social Support Influence Behavioral Outcomes among Older Women

Monday, November 9, 2009: 12:30 PM

Idethia Shevon Harvey, DrPH , Dept of Kinesiology & Community Health, University of Illinois, Champaign, IL
Marie E. Muyot , Department of Statistics, University of Illinois Urbana Champaign, Champaign, IL
Kezia Alexander , Health Administration and Health Policy, University of Maryland Baltimore County, Baltimore, MD
Although research has documented positive correlation between social support and health-promoting practices, little is known about the longitudinal relationships between social support and health-promoting behaviors among older and diverse groups of women. Using repeated measures analysis of covariance and generalized linear model (GLM), this study examines the relationships between social support and Body Mass Index (BMI), physical activity, alcohol consumption and smoking. The sample of older women aged 60 and older participated in the Americans' Changing Lives (ACL) longitudinal study. Social support was insignificant for BMI, alcohol consumption and smoking while positive social support from friends seem to increase physical activity among this population. In addition, divorcees and widows tend to engage in higher levels of physical activity than never-married women. Finally, those who receive consistent reminders to stay healthy were less likely to engage in physical activity compare to women who rarely receive health behavior specific support. These findings confirm the potentially significant role friends can play in maintaining physical activity as well as the balance needed in supporting physical activity across the life span. By understanding the pathways of social support, the development of tailored public health interventions that take into account the specific roles and types of support can help maximize positive health behavior.

Learning Objectives:
Evaluate the influence of social support on health behaviors Describe the role of social support in making and maintaining healthy lifestyle

Keywords: African American, Wellness

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am the PI of the study
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.