260867 Male peer influence on African American men's motivation for physical activity: Men's and women's perspectives

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Andrea King, MPH , School of Public Health, Department of Health Behavior and Health Education, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI
Derek M. Griffith, PhD , School of Public Health, Department of Health Behavior and Health Education, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI
Julie Ober Allen, MPH , University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI
Male peers influence men's motivation and engagement in physical activity. This presentation examines how men and women perceive men's physical activity to be affected by male peers' influence on social support, the social environment, and social norms. Nine exploratory focus groups with 71 middle-aged and older African American men and eight focus groups with 77 important women in their lives were conducted in three southeast Michigan cities. Thematic content analysis revealed that peers often provided critical social support motivating men to initiate and maintain physical activity; conversely, the negative influence of sedentary peers or a lack of peer support inhibited motivation. Social norms surrounding physical activity and social modeling also influenced men's motivation to be physically active: men who were around active peers were more motivated to be physically active than those who were not. Men were less likely to be involved in sports and other social physical activities as they moved into middle and older adulthood, compared to during their youth and young adulthood. Men attributed this decrease in physical activity over the life course to difficulties finding time to exercise due to work and family demands, while women identified men's aging-related physical ailments as the cause. This research highlights the central role male peer social support can play in helping middle-aged and older African American men overcome practical barriers to engaging in and sustaining physical activity. It also highlights the importance of gathering data from men and key women in men's lives to understand men's health behaviors.

Learning Areas:
Chronic disease management and prevention
Diversity and culture
Planning of health education strategies, interventions, and programs
Public health or related research
Social and behavioral sciences

Learning Objectives:
1. Describe how men and key women in menís lives perceive the influence of male peers on African American menís motivation and engagement in physical activity. 2. Identify cultural, social, and gender factors related to peers that may promote and deter middle-aged and older African American menís physical activity. 3. Differentiate between menís and womenís perspectives on how peers influence menís physical activity over the life course.

Keywords: Physical Activity, Male Health

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I conducted the thematic analysis of focus group data presented in this paper. My co-authors include the PI of the study and project manager.
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.