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    Social support and the likelihood of maintaining and improving levels of physical activity: the Whitehall II Study

    Kouvonen, A. and de Vogli, R. and Stafford, M. and Shipley, M.J. and Marmot, M.G. and Cox, Tom and Vahtera, J. and Väänänen, A. and Heponiemi, T. and Singh-Manoux, A. and Kivimaki, M. (2012) Social support and the likelihood of maintaining and improving levels of physical activity: the Whitehall II Study. The European Journal of Public Health 22 (4), pp. 514-518. ISSN 1101-1262.

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    Background: Evidence on the association between social support and leisure time physical activity (LTPA) is scarce and mostly based on cross-sectional data with different types of social support collapsed into a single index. The aim of this study was to investigate whether social support from the closest person was associated with LTPA. Methods: Prospective cohort study of 5395 adults (mean age 55.7 years, 3864 men) participating in the British Whitehall II study. Confiding/emotional support and practical support were assessed at baseline in 1997–99 using the Close Persons Questionnaire. LTPA was assessed at baseline and follow-up in (2002–04). Baseline covariates included socio-demographics, self-rated health, long-standing illnesses, physical functioning and common mental disorders. Results: Among participants who reported recommended levels of LTPA at baseline, those who experienced high confiding/emotional support were more likely to report recommended levels of LTPA at follow-up [odds ratio (OR): 1.39, 95% confidence interval (CI): 1.12–1.70 in a model adjusted for baseline covariates]. Among those participants who did not meet the recommended target of LTPA at baseline, high confiding/emotional support was not associated with improvement in activity levels. High practical support was associated with both maintaining (OR: 1.34, 95% CI: 1.10–1.63) and improving (OR: 1.25, 95% CI: 1.02–1.53) LTPA levels. Conclusion: These findings suggest that emotional and practical support from the closest person may help the individual to maintain the recommended level of LTPA. Practical support also predicted a change towards a more active lifestyle.


    Item Type: Article
    School: Birkbeck Faculties and Schools > Faculty of Business and Law > Birkbeck Business School
    Depositing User: Administrator
    Date Deposited: 05 Jun 2013 08:04
    Last Modified: 02 Aug 2023 17:05


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