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Original Research Love Hurts: The Influence of Social Relations on Exercise Self-Efficacy for Older Adults With Osteoarthritis

Exercise self-efficacy is a powerful predictor of physical activity behavior, which enhances health and well-being for older adults. Social relations have been proposed as influential precursors for exercise self-efficacy. In a longitudinal study of 160 older adults with osteoarthritis (76.9% women), the authors found that social support (but not social strain) significantly predicted exercise self-efficacy in a structural equation model examining cross-sectional data: χ2(178, N = 160) = 264.57, p < .01; RMSEA = .06; CFI = .92; TLI = .90. When data were examined longitudinally, however, social strain (but not social support) significantly predicted lower exercise self-efficacy 1 year later: χ2(233, N = 160) = 288.64, p < .01; RMSEA = .04; CFI = .96; TLI = .95. Results support the negativity effect, suggesting that social strain might be the more potent aspect of social relations and should be the target of interventions.

Authors: Kelly A. Cotter, Aurora M. Sherman

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