BACKGROUND: Risk for cardiovascular disease is particularly high among women in midlife (ages 40-60). Moderate-to-vigorous-intensity physical activity (PA) can protect against risk during this time, and research is needed to understand contributors to PA motivation and behavior in daily life. PURPOSE: This study used ecological momentary assessment to examine: (a) within-person associations between social interactions (both quantity and quality) and PA outcomes (motivation and behavior) among women in midlife, and (b) variability in within-person associations across days. METHODS: Women ages 40-60 with one or more cardiovascular disease risk conditions (e.g., hypertension; n = 75; MAge = 51.6 years, MBMI = 34.0 kg/m2) wore waistband accelerometers and completed five surveys per day for 10 days. RESULTS: Controlling for social interactions overall, at times when women reported a higher number of positive interactions, they reported higher PA motivation; this association was negative for both the number and valence of negative interactions. At times when women experienced a higher number of interactions overall, they engaged in fewer subsequent minutes of moderate-to-vigorous-intensity PA, though reports of positive and negative interactions were not associated with moderate-to-vigorous-intensity PA behavior. Importantly, the direction of these within-person associations differed between days of observation (positive associations on ~50% of days and negative associations on ~50% of days). CONCLUSIONS: Findings show that social interactions influence PA motivation and behavior among women in midlife but that these influences are inconsistent, suggesting the need for careful consideration of how to engage social interactions to promote PA in this group.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- General Medicine