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April Y. Oh, Shannon N. Zenk, JoEllen Wilbur, Richard Block, Judith McDevitt and Edward Wang

Background:

Crime may be a significant barrier to physical activity for urban African American women, yet few studies have examined this relationship in intervention studies. This study examines relationships among neighborhood crime incidents, perceptions of crime and safety, and adherence in a walking intervention among urban, midlife African-American women.

Methods:

The sample includes 148 women living in the City of Chicago. Violent crimes, disorder crimes, gun violence, and crime-related safety were examined. Adherence to walking frequency was measured as the percentage of recommended walks completed.

Results:

Controlling for demographic characteristics and treatment group, multivariate regression analyses showed walking adherence was not associated with any of the crime measures or crime-related safety (R 2 = 0.130 to 0.147). The effect of enhanced treatment did not differ by levels of objective or perceived neighborhood crime or safety. Weak to moderate bivariate correlations were observed between objective crime measures and perceived disorder crime and crime-related safety (r = 0.04 to 0.25).

Conclusions:

Weak correlations between perceived and objective crime measures suggest they are measuring different aspects of the crime environment. Future studies should examine perceived and objective measures in other populations and settings and other neighborhood social factors which may moderate crime and safety effects on outcomes of physical activity interventions.

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Shannon N. Zenk, Amy J. Schulz, Angela M. Odoms-Young, JoEllen Wilbur, Stephen Matthews, Cindy Gamboa, Lani R. Wegrzyn, Susan Hobson and Carmen Stokes

Background:

Global positioning systems (GPS) have emerged as a research tool to better understand environmental influences on physical activity. This study examined the feasibility of using GPS in terms of perceived acceptability, barriers, and ease of use in a racially/ethnically diverse sample of lower socioeconomic position (SEP).

Methods:

Data were from 2 pilot studies involving a total of 170 African American, Hispanic, and White urban adults with a mean (standard deviation) age of 47.8 (±13.1) years. Participants wore a GPS for up to 7 days. They answered questions about GPS acceptability, barriers (wear-related concerns), and ease of use before and after wearing the GPS.

Results:

We found high ratings of GPS acceptability and ease of use and low levels of wear-related concerns, which were maintained after data collection. While most were comfortable with their movements being tracked, older participants (P < .05) and African Americans (P < .05) reported lower comfort levels. Participants who were younger, with higher education, and low incomes were more likely to indicate that the GPS made the study more interesting (P < .05). Participants described technical and wear-related problems, but few concerns related to safety, loss, or appearance.

Conclusions:

Use of GPS was feasible in this racially/ethnically diverse, lower SEP sample.