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.
Kelly A. Cotter and Aurora M. Sherman
Kelly A. Cotter and Margie E. Lachman
Physical activity is an essential ingredient in the recipe for successful aging, yet physical activity engagement declines with advancing age.
In a national sample of 3848 participants aged 32 to 84 (55% women), we examined potential psychosocial moderators of the relationship between age and physical activity.
In a cross-sectional hierarchical multiple regression analysis [Adj. R 2 = .14, F(10, 3546) = 57.10, P < .001] we found that participants reporting higher education (β = .08), higher social support (β = .05), higher social strain (β = .12), and a higher sense of control (β = .09) were significantly more physically active. Furthermore, 2 significant interactions showed that higher education and higher social strain were associated with higher physical activity in older adulthood, suggesting that social strain and education may protect against age-related declines in physical activity.
Social strain may positively influence adaptive health promoting behaviors. Potential pathways are considered.