Social Support and Physical Activity in Older Adults: Identifying Predictors Using Data From the Canadian Longitudinal Study on Aging

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This study examined which of nine forms of social support were the strongest predictors of physical activity in older adults, and to what degree these associations were moderated by eight demographic indicators of groups at increased risk of social isolation. Baseline data from 21,491 adults aged 65 and older who were participants of the Canadian Longitudinal Study on Aging were analyzed using multiple regression. Greater social network size, social contact with network members, and participation in community-related activities predicted greater physical activity, whereas being in a domestic partnership and perceiving more tangible support to be available were negatively associated. The strength and direction of these associations varied by sex, living arrangement, and income. Given the findings, various forms of social support should be incorporated in physical activity interventions but tailored to meet the needs of different segments of the aging population.

The authors are with the Faculty of Kinesiology, University of Calgary, Calgary, Alberta, Canada.

McDonough (meghan.mcdonough@ucalgary.ca) is corresponding author.
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