The role of social support and self-efficacy in shaping the leisure time physical activity of older adults

Elizabeth M. Orsega-Smith, Laura L. Payne, Andrew Justin Mowen, Ching Hua Ho, Geoffrey C. Godbey

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

59 Scopus citations


Lack of social support and low self-efficacy are important barriers to regular exercise and physical activity. However, it is unclear whether these resources contribute significantly to CDC recommended physical activity levels and which of these factors (and their associated sub-domains) are more robust in relating to leisure time physical activity (LTPA) among older adults. This study examines the role of social support and self-efficacy in shaping recommended levels of older adult LTPA from five cities across the United States. Results indicated that social support provided by friends (rather than family) and the self-efficacy domain of perceived physical ability were significantly related to LTPA as measured through Metabolic Equivalents (METS). Consistent with prior research, age and health were also significantly related to LTPA. Findings suggest that inter-personal resources and intra-personal resources both play an equal role in shaping LTPA of older adults. Suggestions for promoting LTPA of older adults are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)705-727
Number of pages23
JournalJournal of Leisure Research
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 1 2007


All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Environmental Science (miscellaneous)
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Tourism, Leisure and Hospitality Management

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