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Health Promot Perspect. 2018 Jan 7;8(1):41-45. doi: 10.15171/hpp.2018.05. eCollection 2018.

The influence of common method bias on the relationship of the socio-ecological model in predicting physical activity behavior.

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Physical Activity Epidemiology Laboratory, Exercise Psychology Laboratory, Department of Health, Exercise Science and Recreation Management, The University of Mississippi, University, MS 38677, USA.


Background: The purpose of this study was to evaluate the extent, if any, that the association between socio-ecological parameters and physical activity may be influenced by common method bias (CMB). Methods: This study took place between February and May of 2017 at a Southeastern University in the United States. A randomized controlled experiment was employed among 119 young adults.Participants were randomized into either group 1 (the group we attempted to minimize CMB)or group 2 (control group). In group 1, CMB was minimized via various procedural remedies,such as separating the measurement of predictor and criterion variables by introducing a time lag (temporal; 2 visits several days apart), creating a cover story (psychological), and approximating measures to have data collected in different media (computer-based vs. paper and pencil) and different locations to control method variance when collecting self-report measures from the same source. Socio-ecological parameters (self-efficacy; friend support; family support)and physical activity were self-reported. Results: Exercise self-efficacy was significantly associated with physical activity. This association (β = 0.74, 95% CI: 0.33-1.1; P = 0.001) was only observed in group 2 (control), but not in group 1 (experimental group) (β = 0.03; 95% CI: -0.57-0.63; P = 0.91). The difference in these coefficients (i.e., β = 0.74 vs. β = 0.03) was statistically significant (P = 0.04). Conclusion: Future research in this field, when feasible, may wish to consider employing procedural and statistical remedies to minimize CMB.


Exercise psychology; Inflation; Self-efficacy

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