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Psychol Health. 2012;27(9):1009-20. doi: 10.1080/08870446.2011.645213. Epub 2012 Jan 3.

Are daily fluctuations in perceived environment associated with walking?

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Stanford Prevention Research Center, Stanford University, Stanford, CA, USA.


The physical environment is thought to influence walking; however, daily variations in perceived environment have received little attention. The current study sought to examine if key within-person factors (i.e., implementation intentions, social support, affect and self-efficacy) would be associated with walking and if perceived access to supportive environments (e.g., access to nice walking paths) and perceived environmental barriers (e.g., bad weather and safety issues) were uniquely associated with walking after controlling for other constructs. Participants (N = 14, 50.0% men, 78.6% White, M age = 59.4 ± 6.4) were in the intervention arm of an 8-week controlled trial promoting walking via personal digital assistants. Participants completed electronic surveys twice a day (total entries = 804) in which they reported brisk walking levels and psychosocial and environmental factors. Multilevel modelling was used to examine within-person variations in constructs as determinants of walking. Results suggested that daily variations in implementation intentions, social support and positive affect were positively associated with walking. Further, perceived access to supportive environments, though not perceived environmental barriers, was positively associated with walking after controlling for other constructs (p < 0.05). Future research should explore intervention components that target context-specific information about perceived access to supportive environments as part of a broader perspective on intervention development.

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