Relations between social comparisons and physical activity among women in midlife with elevated risk for cardiovascular disease: an ecological momentary assessment study

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Women in midlife (ages 40–60) show decreases in physical activity (PA) that exacerbate risk for cardiovascular disease. Social comparisons (i.e., self-evaluations relative to others) are known to influence PA in other groups, but their association in this population is unknown. The present study used ecological momentary assessment to examine this relation among women in midlife with hypertension or another CVD risk condition (N = 75, MBMI = 34.0 kg/m2). Participants completed 5 surveys per day and wore tri-axial accelerometers for 10 days. PA engagement was lower after women reported more comparisons than were typical for them (7–14% reductions in PA for each additional comparison). These relations varied across days of observation and relations were positive on 34–58% of days. Findings call for careful consideration of how best to harness any potential benefits of social comparison for promoting PA in this and other groups.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalJournal of Behavioral Medicine
StateAccepted/In press - 2021

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Psychology(all)
  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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