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Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2014 Feb;46(2):293-301. doi: 10.1249/MSS.0000000000000017.

Urban form and psychosocial factors: do they interact for leisure-time walking?

Author information

1
Department of Public Health, Erasmus University Medical Center, Rotterdam, THE NETHERLANDS.

Abstract

INTRODUCTION:

This cross-sectional study uses an adaptation of a social-ecological model on the hierarchy of walking needs to explore direct associations and interactions of urban-form characteristics and individual psychosocial factors for leisure-time walking.

METHODS:

Questionnaire data (n = 736) from adults (25-74 yr) and systematic field observations within 14 neighborhoods in Eindhoven (the Netherlands) were used. Multilevel logistic regression models were used to relate the urban-form characteristics (accessibility, safety, comfort, and pleasurability) and individual psychosocial factors (attitude, self-efficacy, social influence, and intention) to two definitions of leisure-time walking, that is, any leisure-time walking and sufficient leisure-time walking according to the Dutch physical activity norm and to explore their interactions.

RESULTS:

Leisure-time walking was associated with psychosocial factors but not with characteristics of the urban environment. For sufficient leisure-time walking, interactions between attitude and several urban-form characteristics were found, indicating that positive urban-form characteristics contributed toward leisure-time walking only in residents with a less positive attitude toward physical activity. In contrast, living in a neighborhood that was accessible for walking was stronger associated with leisure-time walking among residents who experienced a positive social influence to engage in physical activity compared with those who reported less social influence.

CONCLUSIONS:

This study showed some evidence for an interaction between the neighborhood environment and the individual psychosocial factors in explaining leisure-time walking. The specific mechanism of interaction may depend on the specific combination of psychosocial factor and environmental factor. The lack of association between urban form and leisure-time walking could be partly due to the little variation in urban-form characteristics between neighborhoods.

PMID:
24051658
DOI:
10.1249/MSS.0000000000000017
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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