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Stijn A.H. Friederichs, Stef P.J. Kremers, Lilian Lechner and Nanne K. de Vries

Background:

In promoting physical activity, it is important to gain insight into environmental factors that facilitate or hinder physical activity and factors that may influence this environment–behavior relationship. As the personality factor of action orientation reflects an individual’s capacity to regulate behavior it may act as a moderator in the environment–behavior relationship. The current study addressed the relationship between neighborhood walkability and walking behavior and the influence of action orientation on this relationship.

Methods:

Three hundred and forty-seven Dutch inhabitants [mean age 43.1 (SD 17.1)] completed a web based questionnaire assessing demographic variables, neighborhood walkability (Neighborhood Environment Walkability Scale), variables of the Theory of Planned Behavior, action orientation, and walking behavior.

Results:

The results show that high levels of neighborhood walkability are positively associated with walking behavior and that this influence is largely unmediated by cognitive processes. A positive influence of neighborhood walkability on walking behavior was identified in the action-oriented subpopulation, whereas in the state-oriented part of the population, this influence was absent.

Conclusions:

The findings suggest that the influence of neighborhood environment on walking behavior has a relatively large unconscious, automatic component. In addition, the results suggest that the walkability–walking relationship is moderated by action orientation.

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Maarten Stiggelbout, Marijke Hopman-Rock, Erwin Tak, Lilian Lechner and Willem van Mechelen

This study examines dropout incidence, moment of dropout, and switching behavior in organized exercise programs for seniors in the Netherlands, as determined in a prospective cohort study (with baseline measurements at the start of the exercise program and follow-up after 6 months; N = 1,725, response rate 73%). Participants were community-living individuals 50+ who participated in different forms of organized exercise programs. The average dropout incidence was 0.15 per 6 months, which is lower than that for the general population. The dropout incidence and the timing of dropout differed substantially between the exercise programs. In total, 31% of people who dropped out of one type of exercise program switched to another type of exercise. The type of program and exercise had a strong effect on differences in this switching behavior. It is recommended that switching behavior be monitored in future studies.

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Janet M. Boekhout, Brenda A.J. Berendsen, Denise A. Peels, Catherine A.W. Bolman and Lilian Lechner

This study explores the association between physical activity (PA), loneliness, and the presence of physical chronic impairments among single older adults. A longitudinal study (N = 575; mean age 76 ± 8 years) was conducted. The association between self-reported weekly minutes of moderate to vigorous PA, loneliness, and presence of physical impairments was assessed with multilevel analyses at baseline, 3 months, and 6 months. Improvements in moderate to vigorous PA were associated with decreases in loneliness (B = −0.09, SE = 0.04, p = .020); this association became nonsignificant when including the presence of physical impairments in the analyses (p = .824), which in itself was positively associated with loneliness (B = 0.51, SE = 0.10, p < .001). Findings indicate that physical impairments have a larger influence on loneliness than the level of PA. Interventions targeting PA and loneliness should tailor specifically to physical impairments.

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Rob J.H. van Bree, Catherine Bolman, Aart N. Mudde, Maartje M. van Stralen, Denise A. Peels, Hein de Vries and Lilian Lechner

These longitudinal studies in older adults targeted mediated relationships between habit and physical activity (PA). In The Netherlands two independent studies were conducted among 1976 (Study 1: Mage = 63.63, SD = 8.66, 30% functional limitations) and 2140 (Study 2: Mage = 62.75, SD = 8.57, 45% functional limitations) adults aged 50 years or older. Cross-lagged panel designs were applied to examine whether habit mediates the relationship between prior and later PA and whether PA simultaneously mediates the relationship between prior and later habit. Data on habit and PA were collected by means of questionnaires at baseline (t0) and at 6 (t1) and 12 (t2) months after baseline measurement. Results of structural equation modeling analyses were not unambiguous. Indications for the existence of both hypothesized mediation effects were found, but no clear, unequivocal pattern appeared. Somewhat more support was found for the PA-habit-PA path than for the habit-PA-habit path. More research is needed to draw more definitive conclusions.