To examine the association of source of emotional- and financial-related social support and size of social support network on physical activity behavior among older adults.
Data from the 1999–2006 NHANES were used (N = 5616; 60 to 85 yrs). Physical activity and emotional- and financial-related social support were assessed via self-report.
Older adults with perceived having emotional social support had a 41% increased odds of meeting physical activity guidelines (OR = 1.41; 95% CI: 1.01–1.97). The only specific sources of social support that were associated with meeting physical activity guidelines was friend emotional support (OR = 1.19; 95% CI: 1.01–1.41) and financial support (OR = 1.28; 95% CI: 1.09–1.49). With regard to size of social support network, a dose-response relationship was observed. Compared with those with 0 close friends, those with 1 to 2, 3 to 4, 5, and 6+ close friends, respectively, had a 1.70-, 2.38-, 2.57-, and 2.71-fold increased odds of meeting physical activity guidelines. There was some evidence of gender- and age-specific associations between social support and physical activity.
Emotional- and financial-related social support and size of social support network are associated with higher odds of meeting physical activity guidelines among older adults.
Loprinzi (email@example.com) and Joyner are with the Dept of Health, Exercise Science, and Recreation Management, University of Mississippi, University, MS.