259670 Psychosocial and environmental correlates of dog walking

Monday, October 29, 2012 : 3:10 PM - 3:30 PM

Elizabeth (Libby) Richards, PhD, RN, CHES , School of Nursing, Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN
Meghan McDonough, PhD , Department of Health and Kinesiology, Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN
Nancy Edwards, PhD, RN , School of Nursing, Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN
Roseann Lyle, PhD , Department of Health and Kinesiology, Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN
Philip J. Troped, PhD MS , Department of Health and Kinesiology, Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN
Dog ownership and dog walking are associated with higher levels of physical activity. Identifying key correlates of dog walking is crucial to designing interventions to promote this behavior. The purpose of this study was to examine psychosocial and environmental correlates of dog walking.

In 2010, 429 dog owners completed a survey on dog walking. Among those reporting dog walking (n=312; mean age 42.412.4), structural equation modeling was used to examine correlates of weekly minutes of dog walking. Goodness-of-fit indices (RMSEA ≤ .08, CFI ≥ .90) and squared multiple correlation (R2) were used to examine the fit and effectiveness of the model in explaining the observed variance in dog walking.

Results indicated a good fit of the hypothesized constructs with the data. The model explained 39% of the variance of dog walking. Dog walking self-efficacy had the strongest relationship with dog walking. Self-efficacy mediated the relationships between family, friend, and dog social support with dog walking. Dog and friend support were also directly related to dog walking. Neighborhood environment, such as greenery, trails, and sidewalks, were positively associated with dog walking. Perceived night-time crime had a negative association. Overweight/obesity was negatively associated with dog walking and self-efficacy. All relationships were significant at p<0.05.

The results of this study suggest that social support is associated with dog walking and is mediated by dog walking self-efficacy. Dog walking interventions should include strategies that target dog walking self-efficacy, social support, and the neighborhood environment. Interventions should also address unique needs of overweight dog owners.

Learning Areas:
Administer health education strategies, interventions and programs
Other professions or practice related to public health
Planning of health education strategies, interventions, and programs
Public health or related research
Social and behavioral sciences

Learning Objectives:
1)Participants will be able to identify psychosocial and environmental correlates of dog walking 2)Participants will be able to discuss implications for promotion of dog walking among adults.

Keywords: Human Animal Bond, Physical Activity

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I developed and initiated this research study. I am a registered nurse with a background in community health nursing. My research interests include physical activity, dog walking, public health nursing, and nursing education.
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.