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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Egocentric networks and physical activity outcomes in Latinas.

  • Author(s): Marquez, Becky
  • Norman, Greg
  • Fowler, James
  • Gans, Kim
  • Marcus, Bess
  • et al.

OBJECTIVE:Despite data linking the social environment to physical inactivity in Latinas, research on social network predictors of physical activity (PA) is limited. This study examined social network predictors of PA change in Latinas. METHODS:Egocentric network data were collected from 102 adult Latinas (egos) participating in a randomized controlled PA intervention trial for underactive women. Moderate-to-vigorous PA (MVPA) was measured in minutes per week using the 7-Day PA Recall Interview and accelerometers at baseline and 12 months. Analyses characterized social network structure, composition, tie strength, homogeneity, and support for PA and determined the relationship between network characteristics and PA outcomes. RESULTS:Networks had an average of four social ties (alters). Networks were high in density and transitivity and low in components, indicating high cohesion. Networks were primarily composed of females, Latinos, Spanish-speakers, and family members. Relationship ties were strong as evidenced by close living proximity, in-person contact, high emotional closeness, and long relationship duration. There was high homogeneity in demographics and PA behaviors. Multivariate analyses revealed that network size, familial ties, contact frequency, and ego-alter dissimilarities in age and running but similarities in walking, were associated with increased MVPA. Networks high in support for PA in the form of complimenting ego on exercise, taking over chores to allow ego to exercise, and co-participating with ego in exercise were also associated with greater MVPA. CONCLUSION:These findings contribute to better understanding interpersonal processes that may influence behavior change in a group with especially low levels of PA.

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