This study examined factors influencing strength training (ST) in two convenience samples of older rural women. Focus group (FG) participants were 23 Caucasian and 16 African American women aged 67.5±9.2 years. Survey participants were 60 Caucasian and 42 African American women, aged 70.59 ± 9.21 years. FG participants answered questions about the risks, benefits, and barriers to ST. Survey participants completed measures of demographics, physical activity (including ST), depression and stress, decisional balance for exercise (DBE), barriers to PA, and social support (SS). Regression modeling examined correlates of ST. FG participants identified physical health gains and improved appearance as ST benefits. African American women also included mental health benefits and "feeling good." Both Caucasian and African American groups named physical health problems as risks of ST. Caucasian women identified time constraints, lack of ST knowledge, physical health problems, lack of exercise facilities, and the cost of ST as barriers. African American women cited being "too tired," physical health problems, lack of support, and other family and work responsibilities. The linear regression model explained 23.2% of the variance in hours per week of ST; DBE and family SS were independent positive correlates. This study identified correlates to participation in ST in older rural women and provides a basis for developing ST interventions in this population.
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