Do intrapersonal factors mediate the association of social support with physical activity in young women living in socioeconomically disadvantaged neighbourhoods? A longitudinal mediation analysis
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DOI 10.1371/journal.pone.0173231
Abstract(s)

Background

Levels of physical activity (PA) decrease when transitioning from adolescence into young adulthood. Evidence suggests that social support and intrapersonal factors (self-efficacy, outcome expectations, PA enjoyment) are associated with PA. The aim of the present study was to explore whether cross-sectional and longitudinal associations of social support from family and friends with leisure-time PA (LTPA) among young women living in disadvantaged areas were mediated by intrapersonal factors (PA enjoyment, outcome expectations, self-efficacy).

Methods

Survey data were collected from 18–30 year-old women living in disadvantaged suburbs of Victoria, Australia as part of the READI study in 2007–2008 (T0, N = 1197), with follow-up data collected in 2010–2011 (T1, N = 357) and 2012–2013 (T2, N = 271). A series of single-mediator models were tested using baseline (T0) and longitudinal data from all three time points with residual change scores for changes between measurements.

Results

Cross-sectional analyses showed that social support was associated with LTPA both directly and indirectly, mediated by intrapersonal factors. Each intrapersonal factor explained between 5.9–37.5% of the associations. None of the intrapersonal factors were significant mediators in the longitudinal analyses.

Conclusions

Results from the cross-sectional analyses suggest that the associations of social support from family and from friends with LTPA are mediated by intrapersonal factors (PA enjoyment, outcome expectations and self-efficacy). However, longitudinal analyses did not confirm these findings.