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Health Educ Behav. 2003 Dec;30(6):740-55.

Linking perceptions of the community to behavior: are protective social factors associated with physical activity?

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Department of Community Health and Prevention Research Center, Saint Louis University, School of Public Health, St. Louis, Missouri 63104-1314, USA.


Although the relationship of psychosocial factors to physical activity has been explored, there is increased interest in how perceptions of the community environment influence behavior. However, few methodological studies have incorporated perceptions of the social and community environment (protective social factors) or addressed key measurement issues. Computer-assisted telephone interviews were administered to a national sample of 1,818 U.S. adults. Unadjusted and multivariate-adjusted odds ratios were calculated to compare active and inactive participants by Protective Social Factors (PSF) scores and selected sociodemographics. Confirmatory factor analysis and reliability analysis suggested strong PSF scale psychometric properties (alpha = .92). After adjustment for potential confounders, a 10-point rise in the PSF score resulted in a 12% increased likelihood of meeting Centers for Disease Control and Prevention/American College of Sports Medicine recommendations. Additional analyses indicated that greater perceived PSFs were associated with meeting these recommendations among Whites but not among African Americans.

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