228063 Influence of materialism and social norms on physical activity participation

Monday, November 8, 2010

Stephanie Baller , Department of Health Sciences, James Madison University, Harrisonburg, VA
Stuart Usdan, PhD , Department of Health Sciences, University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa, AL
Renée Umstattd, PhD, CHES , Department of Health Science, University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa, AL
Meg E. Sheppard, PhD, CHES , College of Community Health Sciences, The University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa, AL
Aaron Kuntz, EdD , Department of Psychology, Research Methodology, & Counseling, The University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa, AL
Lori Turner, PhD , Department of Health Sciences, The University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa, AL
Societal trends of the last decade, including increasing rates of obesity and sedentary behavior, underscore the importance of better understanding all of the psychosocial determinants of physical activity (PA). Additionally, the pervasiveness of consumerism and materialistic values orientation (MVO) and the relationship such values have with social norms and PA participation needs to be more clearly understood. Methods: A mixed methods, cross-sectional study utilized quantitative (n=482) and qualitative analysis (8 focus groups) to investigate how materialism and social norms (from the Integrated Behavioral Model) are related to participation in PA. Results: Pearson bivariate correlations found injunctive and descriptive norms were significantly associated with PA and sedentary behavior, but not MVO. Linear regression analysis indicated a multivariate model where MVO (p=0.014) and injunctive norms (p<0.001) were significant predictors of PA (p<0.001, R2=.039). Qualitative findings suggest participants who were more materialistic had stronger desires for conformity; and thereby heightened awareness of visibility to peers and social image. Further, materialistic participants expressed a normative expectation for aesthetics related PA motivation. Whereas, lower MVO participants assumed motivation for PA was enjoyment. Conclusions: The influence of social norms is a critical element for consideration in understanding contextual environments in which PA occurs. Message tailoring by MVO and PA level may be a more effective way to reach student populations. MVO warrants consideration by programming and health education professionals to encourage a more inclusive approach to understanding PA environments and increasing PA.

Learning Areas:
Assessment of individual and community needs for health education
Planning of health education strategies, interventions, and programs
Public health or related education
Social and behavioral sciences

Learning Objectives:
1. Discuss the potential link between materialism and physical activity participation among college students. 2. Describe the relationship between motivation and physical activity when considering materialism as a potential moderator among college students. 3. Describe differences between physical activity location preference when considering college students’ materialistic values orientation. 4. Provide points for consideration in moving towards more inclusive and socially just campus physical activity environments through understanding how social norms dynamically function on college campuses.

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am completing my PhD in Health Education and Promotion at the University of Alabama.
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.